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What are project stakeholders?
Project stakeholders are individuals or organizations with a vested interest in a project’s outcome. According to the Project Management Institute, stakeholders are those who stand to gain or lose something based on the project’s performance. These stakeholders can be internal, such as team members and executives, or external, like clients and suppliers.
Stakeholders can significantly influence a project in various ways. On the positive side, their contributions may include resources, expertise, and support, propelling the project toward success. Conversely, they can introduce project risks such as resistance to change or withdrawal of support, which could hinder progress. Thus, understanding stakeholder needs and expectations is vital for project success.
Identifying stakeholders early is important because each one has a unique role and specific expectations that can impact the project’s success. Doing so allows the project manager to shape the project objectives, project scope, and plans more effectively.
It also facilitates risk assessment, revealing potential challenges and conflicts that may arise during the project. Overlooking this step can lead to missed opportunities and resource wastage, jeopardizing the project’s success.
Why are stakeholders important?
Stakeholders play an important role in determining the success or failure of a project. They can contribute in various ways, such as financial backing or technical support.
Effective stakeholder engagement ensures everyone is on the same page, reducing misunderstandings and conflicts. It also allows for better risk assessment and management. Stakeholder engagement helps in clarifying goals, identifying potential pitfalls, and even finding solutions to challenges you might not have seen coming.
What is stakeholder mapping, and why is it important?
Stakeholder mapping, also known as stakeholder analysis, aims to understand each of the stakeholder’s level of influence, interest, and potential impact on the project.
This process is crucial for several reasons:
Also read: The 5 Phases of Project Management
Types of stakeholders in project management
Stakeholders come in various forms, each with unique interests and influence levels. From internal and external to primary, secondary, direct, and indirect stakeholders, understanding these different types is crucial for effective project management.
Internal vs. external stakeholders
|Who are they?||Generally present within the organization with immediate interest in its activities.||Individuals or entities outside the organization and don’t have an influence on its decisions.|
|What is their primary interest?||Focused on project performance, stability, and varying roles.||Interested in external impact; influences public perception.|
|Examples||Owners, directors, managers, and employees.||Customers, suppliers, creditors, partners, and contractors.|
Primary vs. secondary stakeholders
|Who are they?||Often have decision-making power in a project; usually most affected by its outcomes.||Have a more peripheral connection to the project, but can still have an impact, even with minor participation.|
|What is their primary interest?||Highly concerned with the project’s progress, often having a financial stake and decision-making authority.||Casually interested in the project’s progress and are generally less involved.|
|Examples||Project managers, sponsors, investors, and business owners.||Government agencies, local communities, competitors, and media.|
Direct vs. indirect stakeholders
|Who are they?||Actively involved in the project and have the ability to influence its outcome. They can affect the project’s overall direction.||Not actively involved in the project but are affected by its outcome. They care more about the project’s result rather than the process.|
|What is their primary interest?||Interested in the project’s success as it directly impacts them.||Interested in how specific aspects of a project impact them.|
|Examples||Team members, employees, project managers, and team leaders||Customers, suppliers, creditors, local community, and government agencies.|
Determining your project’s key stakeholders
Prioritizing stakeholders is an essential step in stakeholder management. Not all stakeholders are created equal; some have more influence or a higher stake in the project than others. You can use the following questions to identify the key stakeholders:
Identifying key stakeholders and securing their buy-in creates a supportive environment that facilitates better decision-making and more effective execution. These stakeholders’ influence and contributions shape the project’s direction, affect its success, and drive critical decisions throughout its lifecycle.
How project management software can assist in stakeholder management
Project management tools offer numerous capabilities that support stakeholder management:
A well-chosen platform can streamline tasks, help you keep track of timelines, and provide features that make it easier to communicate and collaborate with stakeholders.
Wrike’s RACI matrix centralizes stakeholder management
Wrike’s approach to stakeholder management is quite comprehensive, offering a strategy document to align project deliverables and expectations. Wrike also provides a handy communication plan template to facilitate regular stakeholder updates.
Wrike’s powerful work management software serves as a single location for your stakeholder management plan, making it easily accessible to those who need it. It can even offer a pre-built RACI template to kickstart your stakeholder management strategy.
ClickUp’s integration elevates stakeholder management with comprehensive features
ClickUp offers a comprehensive suite of features designed explicitly for stakeholder management. You can create and share stakeholder lists with ClickUp Docs, visualize stakeholder relationships with Mind Maps, and present project plans through Gantt Charts.
The platform also supports integrated chats and Zoom meetings to keep both internal and external stakeholders updated. Additional features like Email ClickApp, workload view, and customizable dashboards provide various ways to maintain transparent communication and offer insights into project progress.
ProjectManager’s dashboard streamlines stakeholder management through real-time insights
ProjectManager provides a real-time dashboard that monitors six key project metrics: health, tasks, progress, time, cost, and workload. This feature offers stakeholders a high-level view of the project’s progress.
The platform also suggests using detailed reports for stakeholder presentations and Gantt charts for project planning. These features aim to create transparency and keep stakeholders updated with real-time data.
The platform even offers free templates for stakeholder analysis and communication plans, making it easier for project managers to manage stakeholder expectations effectively.
Wrike’s top-notch workflow management software allows you to easily visualize priorities, boost collaboration, and maintain control of your projects. Bonus: you can move seamlessly between apps, without logging in or out. Wrike has more than 400+ integrations with popular platforms such as Google, Dropbox, Microsoft Office, and many more. Automation and AI features strip away time-consuming admin tasks so you can do the best work of your life.
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