If you think making customers happy or generating profits was your only job then we have some bad news for you. While both the aforementioned are critical for the success of a project, we cannot sideline the importance of stakeholders.
The success of a project is very much dependent on the satisfaction of its stakeholders.
Stakeholders are a part of the project much like you. But who exactly are stakeholders in a project? How can you identify them and satisfy their requirements?
Worry not because we have got all the answers for you. In this article, we will walk you through the ins and outs of stakeholders so that you can up your game and seal the deal on the success of your project.
Who Is a Stakeholder?
By definition, a stakeholder is a person who is actively involved in a project. The success or failure of the project directly impacts the interests of a stakeholder. The involvement of a stakeholder in a project plays a determining role in the results of the same.
All the people involved in a project, who are affected by the outcome, are stakeholders in a project. Stakeholders can be team members, top management, an entire organization, customers, etc., essentially any person whose interests are linked with the success of the project.
There might be several people who get affected by the results of a project especially if the project is bigger. Effectively managing each and every stakeholder is a demanding task so, it is advised that you focus on the ones more directly linked with the project i.e., key stakeholders.
Stakeholder And Key Stakeholder
Before we move on any further, we would like to clarify the difference between stakeholders and key stakeholders.
Stakeholders are the individuals who get affected by the outcomes of a project. These can be external or internal and may get affect positively or negatively.
Key stakeholders, in opposition, are actively involved in the project. They have to power to decide whether a project is successful or not. The satisfaction of these people is vital for a project to be deemed as successful.
Types Of Stakeholders
Stakeholders are essentially divided into two categories; internal and external.
Internal stakeholders are the individuals within your organization. These may include top management, team members, manager, etc.
External stakeholders, on the other hand, are people not from your organization. These individuals can be customers, contractors, suppliers, etc.
Identifying the Stakeholders of Your Project
Before you begin working on a project, it is important that you identify the key stakeholders in the project. The knowledge can help you satisfy their needs more easily.
Make a list of all the stakeholders in your project including internal and external and then categorize them into key stakeholders and stakeholders. Make sure that you identify all the people that might get impacted by the outcomes of your project.
To make this list, schedule a meeting with your clients or top management and identify all the stakeholders and their demands.
Here are a few pointers that might help you distinguish key stakeholders from others:
- Key stakeholders possess decision making powers within the project
- They define and determine the success of a project
- Their decision has a direct impact on all the people involved in the project
- Their satisfaction with a project plays a key role in the future business of the organization
Once you have identified the key stakeholder of your project, you must build a reliable and open relationship with them. Here are a few tips that might do the trick for you:
- Analyze the interests of the stakeholders in the project. What do they want to achieve with this project? What are their expectations? How will the project impact them?
- Identify how much power does a stakeholder has in a project. How much influence does each stakeholder have on the project? Do they have significant control over the project?
- Determine their expectations with the project. Make sure that you have a clear idea about the needs and demands of a stakeholder.
- Define success for each stakeholder. Stakeholders have the power to determine whether a project is successful or not, this implies that you get some clarity on what success means for each stakeholder.
- Keep all key stakeholders in the loop. Make sure that stakeholders who are actively involved in the project are not bystanders and are informed about everything happening in the project.
- Make sure all stakeholders are well-informed. Communication is the key to success and the same stands true here. Rather than bombarding them with piles of information all of a sudden, make sure that they are always informed about the progress of the project and how it is coming about.
A strong relationship will play an integral role in the success of a project.
Managing Your Stakeholders
All the stakeholders involved in your project might not have the same interests in mind. After the identification of stakeholders and their needs, you have to make sure that you manage each stakeholder efficiently and fulfill their requirements.
The varying needs of stakeholders make it extremely difficult to bring them all on the same page and satisfy their needs and demands. You have to find a common ground to make sure that every individual is satisfied and the project is also completed efficiently.
Here are a few tips that might help you manage your stakeholders more efficiently:
- Document everything. Once you have identified the stakeholders and determined their needs, create a document to record everything from start till the end. The document will not only guarantee transparency but will also ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Communicate with your stakeholders. As we mentioned earlier, you must keep the stakeholder informed and updated about all the processes taking place in a project. Make sure that they have all the key information with regards to the project.
- See things from their perspective. Analyzing the project from their viewpoint will help you determine their expectations from the project. This way you might be able to manage the project much more efficiently and deliver better results.
Effectively managing your stakeholders will make your road to success smoother. They add to the project with their monetary investment, time, experience, and efforts. You can certainly
Make Sure Stakeholders Are in Sync with The Progress of The Project
It is your job to make sure that all the stakeholders involved in a project are in sync with the project and have all the information they might need. Getting stakeholders’ approval and moving in sync will contribute to the success of the project.
To make this relationship easier to manage, you can take the help of a project management software, one via which you can share progress reports with the stakeholders and offer them visibility into the project – such as nTask.
An ideal software like nTask will allow you to share files, manage tasks, schedule meetings, and keep stakeholders in the loop on everything in the project.
We hope this article has helped you understand project stakeholders and their role in a project. If you think we skipped something, feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to hear from you.
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