The stakeholders and their interests

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Anyone in the organisation, or outside it, who has or might have a legitimate interest in the project and its outputs or outcomes, is a stakeholder. You need to identify these people and groups so that you can make sure you meet their expectations and manage the influence they may wish to exert over the progress of the project. Particularly important among the stakeholders will be:

  • the project sponsor – the person or group who set up the project, authorised the resources and put you in charge of it;
  • the project team – the group of people who are going to carry out the tasks and activities;
  • functional managers and others who control resources you will need or whose expertise may be useful;
  • influential individuals or groups who are likely to be affected by the project and its outcomes.

Depending on the nature of the project, many other groups or individuals may have a stake in it, such as:

  • consumers, customers, users of services or products;
  • other staff in the same or other departments;
  • managers and staff of partner or collaborating organisations;
  • the senior management team of your organisation;
  • shareholders or their representatives;
  • elected members (if you are working in a local government context);
  • trustees (if the project involves a charitable trust);
  • members of the public (especially if you are managing a high-profile project involving a new service or a new building);
  • media representing public interest;
  • competing organisations.

Each of these stakeholders is likely to have different expectations of the project and thus different criteria for its success. These may be overt or covert, and they may conflict with one another. You need to ensure that, as far as possible, the goals and objectives of the project take all these criteria into account, because this is how your success will be measured.

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