Why proper stakeholder identification is a critical success factor for your project?

Anybody who is affected positively or negatively, by doing a project or by delaying a project is a stakeholder. Identifying the key stakeholders upfront helps to capture and manage their expectations proactively. For any given project the direct stakeholders are;

  • Sponsor (customer) of the project
  • Project manager
  • Delivery head
  • Team
  • End users of the product of the project
  • Business analysts
  • Product owner

The indirect stakeholders list can be very vast, and at the same time identifying and managing the indirect stakeholders is key to the project’s success.  It is very difficult to come out with a universal list of indirect stakeholders. Here is a sample;

  • Families of team members (If they are unhappy, most probably the team member may resign her job soon)
  • Competitors (They can recruit some of your key team members)
  • End users of competitors products (Customer complaints, especially against your competitor’s products is very useful)
  • Intellectual property bodies (do not violate them knowingly or unknowingly)
  • Government agencies (must manage well)
  • Trade unions (be careful, if your product is going to disrupt an existing market. Online taxi operators like Uber, Ola  Vs traditional taxi operators, Amazon Vs traditional shops)
  • Product review groups (social media) (Most of them are paid reviewers. Do not forget to budget for them)
  • Any other groups (Even the name of your project / product should not harm anyone’s culture, religion etc…)
  • Any citizen (farmers, drivers, pedestrians, vehicle owners…anyone) who is affected negatively during or after the project.

It is worth spending time to identify the key stakeholders and their impact on your project / product individually and collectively, at the beginning of the project and throughout the project.

Once the stakeholder list is prepared, the next logical step is to group them into;

  • High power, high interest group
  • High power, low interest group
  • Low power, high interest group
  • Low power, low interest group

and develop strategies to maintain a high degree of stakeholder interest in your project / product (stakeholder engagement). If all the key stakeholders are happy during and after the project, your project is a success story.

Reference stakeholder mapping 

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