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Project Stakeholders

Stakeholders include all members of the project team as well as all interested entities that are internal or external to the organization. The project team identifies internal and external, positive and negative, and performing and advising stakeholders in order to determine the project requirements and the expectations of all parties involved. The project manager should manage the influences of these various stakeholders in relation to the project requirements to ensure a successful outcome. 
 
Stakeholders have varying levels of responsibility and authority when participating on a project. This level can change over the course of the project’s life cycle. Their involvement may range from occasional contributions in surveys and focus groups to full project sponsorship which includes providing financial, political, or other support.
 
Some stakeholders may also detract from the success of the project, either passively or actively. These stakeholders require the project manager’s attention throughout the project’s life cycle, as well as planning to address any issues they may raise.
 
Stakeholder identification is a continuous process throughout the entire project life cycle. Identifying stakeholders, understanding their relative degree of influence on a project, and balancing their demands, needs, and expectations are critical to the success of the project. Failure to do so can lead to delays, cost increases, unexpected issues, and other negative consequences including project cancellation. An example is late recognition that the legal department is a significant stakeholder, which results in delays and increased expenses due to legal requirements that are required to be met before the project can be completed or the product scope is delivered.
 
The following are some examples of project stakeholders:
 
Sponsor:
 
A sponsor is the person or group who provides resources and support for the project and is accountable for enabling success. The sponsor may be external or internal to the project manager’s organization. From initial conception through project closure, the sponsor promotes the project. This includes serving as spokesperson to higher levels of management to gather support throughout the organization and promoting the benefits the project brings. The sponsor leads the project through the initiating processes until formally authorized, and plays a significant role in the development of the initial scope and charter. For issues that are beyond the control of the project manager, the sponsor serves as an escalation path. The sponsor may also be involved in other important issues such as authorizing changes in scope, phase-end reviews, and go/no-go decisions when risks are particularly high. The sponsor also ensures a smooth transfer of the project’s deliverables into the business of the requesting organization after project closure.
 
Customers and users:
 
Customers are the persons or organizations who will approve and manage the project’s product, service, or result. Users are the persons or organizations who will use the project’s product, service, or result. Customers and users may be internal or external to the performing organization and may also exist in multiple layers. For example, the customers for a new pharmaceutical product could include the doctors who prescribe it, the patients who use it and the insurers who pay for it. In some application areas, customers and users are synonymous, while in others, customers refer to the entity acquiring the project’s product, and users refer to those who will directly utilize the project’s product.
 
Sellers: 
 
Sellers, also called vendors, suppliers, or contractors, are external companies that enter into a contractual agreement to provide components or services necessary for the project.
 
Business partners:
 
 Business partners are external organizations that have a special relationship with the enterprise, sometimes attained through a certification process. Business partners provide specialized expertise or fill a specified role such as installation, customization, training, or support.

Author : Mahmoud Qeshreh

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