Project Stakeholders

The diversity of people that can be involved in projects makes project management interesting and enlightening. Due to the fact that projects are initiated to bring about change, often by people who do not know each other very well it is critical that trust and good communication is established as quickly as possible. You can only build trust and have good communications if you understand the individuals you are working with in the project and those individuals that have influence and power over the project. Understanding their interests and what drives them therefore is critical to project success.

Information from stakeholder analysis will also be very useful as an input to deciding how your project organisation and processes will be structured. In projects where most of the people know each other and there is a high level of trust you can most probably use agile practices fairly easily. Where trust has not yet been built up or the people are not familiar with project best practices, you may find it useful to have a more formal organisational structure while you build up trust and an understanding of the nature and needs of project organisations.

Let us have a look at some of the interest groups your stakeholders may come from

Possible project stakeholders
It is useful to use a diagram like this to help you identify and remember what interest groups your stakeholders come from. Each interest group will have some common needs and expectations relevant to that group that can be taken care of. Then within each interest group you will have the additional needs and expectations of individuals. It is the individuals you are dealing with that will make or break the project.
Additional groups and sub-groups could include culture, gender and age groups.

Business Owner Interest:-

From the business perspective the project should result in the organisation having the capability to meet some business need and that this is done within accepted tolerances for cost, risk, time etc.

For non-business projects such as those for disaster relief the project should result in the organisation or community having the capability to meet some humanitarian need in the shortest possible time. For these types of projects cost may only be important in the context of what funds are available to achieve the biggest impact in improving the situation for those affected. You can read more about these types of projects on the UNOPS site.

Provider Technical & Business Interest:-

Normally a project will need to take in technical or subject matter experts. They will have a business interest for supplying their knowledge and skills. Possibly more importantly one needs to consider what knowledge and skills they bring to the project and if the project is interesting for them.

It is useful to understand who will be using the output from the project. As a general rule these users can come from the general public. The second group includes people who will use the product in their daily work.

Public User Interest (Public):-

For any project that is delivering an output that will be used by the public then you need to at least understand the customer and what will encourage them to use the product.
You can build your understanding of what the public wants by making frequent small releases of the product or service you are creating for them to use. By getting feedback from the public you will be able to get a better understanding of their needs or wishes. There are many other methods suitable for getting input from the public, it is important that their interests are always in consideration.

What if our public interest group are located in a disaster area?
The UNOPS site has a lot of information projects and people involved in this area. How you will work with and deal with the interests of people in a disaster situation with be different to those in a stable business or daily life situation.

Business User Interest (Internal):-

We can use the term business user to represent users internal to the organisation and people who will use the project output in their daily work.
Projects that are initiated to deliver eCommerce solutions have people who need to work with the end product in order to sell products to the general public. They take the capability that the project delivers to achieve outcomes and realise benefits for the business.

Software products that are developed for use in hospitals should include input from nurses and doctors as their work is specialised. If they are not included in the design and development of the product there is a good chance that the product will not give them the capability they need to achieve the intended outcomes and realise the benefits.

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