Project Stakeholders are the people and entities affected or impacted in any way by the project. Defining this list is critical in communication planning. It will also help you in defining the project scope. Stakeholders are identified by reviewing the Project Scope and consulting with Subject Matter Experts for the domain of the project.
There are two classifications of Stakeholders:
- Those that will be needed to perform project tasks.
- Those that will interact with or receive the product, service or result of the project.
The Stakeholders in classification 1 are the members of your project team. Some of these will constitute your core team and will be needed full-time or near full-time for the duration of the project. Others will be needed only for specific tasks over limited periods of time. When you have this list I recommend creating a spreadsheet with these names along with their roles, responsibilities, manager, and contact information.
The Stakeholders in classification 2 are your project’s “customers”. These are the people who will be the target of a formal Change Management strategy (more on that in upcoming posts). The success of your project will often depend on how you manage communication and change with this group of Stakeholders. The five key areas for managing this group of Stakeholders are:
- Awareness – communicate early and often with this group before they are impacted
- Desire – impart an understanding of why this is good for them and for the company
- Knowledge – training in new processes and behaviors
- Ability – make them successful by setting up a support structure
- Reinforcement – monitoring the expected behaviors and business outcomes and being prepared to make adjustments as new knowledge comes to light
There are some Stakeholders that can be a member of both groups. Typically members of the Project Sponsor’s team will participate in the project and also be affected by the result.