Project stakeholders are individuals, groups of people, organizations or firms that affect or affected directly or indirectly, positively or negatively affect or be affected by the process and the outcomes of the project.
Generally, there are many ways to group the stakeholders. Two of the most common are the following:
|a.|| According to the impact they have on the project:|
|•||Those who are directly related to the project, such as project manager, project team members, funding agency, customer, users, suppliers and subcontractors.|
|•||Those who exert influence over the physical, technological, commercial, financial, socioeconomic or political conditions, such as technical chambers, political parties, environmental agencies, citizens, NGOs and financial institutions. |
|•||Those who have a hierarchical relationship to the project, such as government authorities at local, regional and national levels.|
|•||Those individuals, groups and associations, who have vested interests, sometimes quite unrelated to the project, but who see it as an opportunity to pursue their own ends.|
|b.|| According to their relative ability to influence the project:|
|•||Those who are controllable|
|•||Those who are influencable, and|
|•||Those who need to be appreciated|
The project management team must identify the stakeholders, determine their requirements and then manage and influence those requirements to ensure a successful project. Managing stakeholder expectations is difficult task because stakeholders often have different objectives that may come into conflict. For example: the Manager of the IT department who has requested a new MIS may desire low cost, the system architect may emphasize technical excellence and the software development contractor may be most interested in maximizing its profit.
In general, differences between or among stakeholders should be resolved in favour of the customer. This does not, however, mean that the needs and expectations of the other stakeholders should be discharged. Finding appropriate resolutions to such differences can be one of the major challenges of project management.