A project is like a great big buffet.
There’re tons of cooks involved.
No, not to spoil the broth, but necessary for its completion.
And just like specialty chefs, all project stakeholders have their own niche to cover.
But the question is, who are stakeholders in a project? What’s their deal? Do they make pastries? 🍰
Spoiler alert – some do!
In this article, we’ll learn who are stakeholders in project management, their types, examples, and how to analyze them. We’ll also learn the most efficient way to carry out project stakeholder management.
Alright, let’s find out everything about project stakeholders. 🔍
What Are Project Stakeholders?
A project stakeholder is an individual, organization, or group that:
- Takes an active part or interest in project activities
- Has a potential impact on a project
- Is affected by the project’s outcome
Basically, stakeholders are people or groups that have something to gain (or lose) from the project.
So if the project does well, then the stakeholders will benefit from it.
However, if the project goes downhill, then the stakeholders go down with it too… 😅
Who Are Project Stakeholders?
You can classify stakeholders in project management into two types: internal and external stakeholders.
These two types of stakeholders in project management are based on the stakeholder relationship with the organization:
- Internal stakeholders
As the name suggests, an internal stakeholder is from within the organization or business.
- External stakeholders
External stakeholders, on the other hand, don’t belong to your organization or business. These project management stakeholders are outsiders, like customers.
Meeting the expectations of different stakeholders and keeping them in the loop is half of a stakeholder management plan. But as a project manager, you must first be able to name these stakeholders.
That’s great. But who are the stakeholders in a project?
We need names!
Examples of Stakeholders in a Project
Since no project is the same, stakeholders vary too.
One thing remains, however.
Whether it’s an app development project or a construction project, stakeholder management is always critical.
Here are some of the common internal stakeholders you may deal with:
- Project sponsor
- Project investor
- Project manager
- Project team members
Here are some of the common external stakeholders:
However, the list doesn’t end here.
You need to find out every key stakeholder. For that, you need to perform a stakeholder analysis.
How to Do Stakeholder Analysis?
Stakeholder analysis, or as some may call it, stakeholder mapping, is IMPORTANT because it:
- Builds trust with the stakeholders
- Shapes the project plans and maintains transparency
- Increases the chances of your project success
Building a strong team that contains key project stakeholders is the only way to succeed in a project.
Additionally, identifying patterns in stakeholder involvement will help you avoid negative stakeholder influence in the future.
Let’s break stakeholder analysis into three steps:
1. Identify potential stakeholders
Step one is stakeholder identification.
You must identify both your internal and external stakeholders.
And we get it. sometimes it’s pretty obvious.
Of course, your client SPOC and project team members are stakeholders.
But is there more to the story?
For this, you’re going to need your project charter and other important project documents.
Identifying some difficult stakeholders can take you hours of brainstorming sessions and reviewing the documentation.
The data you collect from these items should help you list out all your stakeholders.
You can start this analysis using the world’s highest-rated productivity and project management tools in the world; let us show you how!
Say hello to ClickUp.
Use Docs’ enhanced cataloging and wiki functionalities to access every piece of project documentation. Search by word or phrase and find the names of all your stakeholders!
The best part is you can divide the entire ‘identify stakeholders process’ between your project team members.
All of you can keep identifying stakeholders, add them into the Docs file in real-time, and create a project stakeholder register.
The stakeholder register will contain all the names, roles, power, and interest of the different stakeholders.
Team collaboration, ftw!
2. Prioritize stakeholders
Not every identified stakeholder is equal in a project.
Some are more important because of their influence.
So the second step is to prioritize your stakeholders.
Here are some questions to help your team distinguish primary stakeholders from secondary stakeholders:
- Do they share your vision about the core project objectives?
- Can they contribute significantly to your capacity in the form of funds, information, scope, etc.?
- Are they very hard or impossible to replace?
If the answer to these questions is a ‘yes,’ then they’re a primary stakeholder.
Your primary and secondary stakeholder list should help you create a stakeholder map.
For that, you’ll need ClickUp’s Mind Maps. Its drag and drop ability makes it super easy to use.
Sketch out your stakeholders using the Blank mode to visualize all the people who can influence your project or how they are connected.
3. Engage stakeholder
Now that you know every important stakeholder and who to prioritize, it’s time for stakeholder engagement.
Unlike the earlier steps, engaging stakeholders is an ongoing process throughout your project. You need to identify stakeholder expectations and address their concerns.
And ClickUp is here to hold your hand every step of the way.
How to Carry out Stakeholder Management?
Managing stakeholder expectations is mostly about keeping them happy.
So will an extra dessert at lunch do the trick?
Maybe! Food never fails!
But stakeholders are hungry for more.
They need information via transparent communication.
And we’ll help you build a stakeholder management process around this.
1. Show them your project plan
Think of the stakeholder as a guest at your restaurant.
What’s the first thing you do? Show them what’s on the menu today.
Similarly, managing stakeholders should start with you showing them your project plan that contains your:
Today’s special? Communication!
But first, you must create a project plan.
ClickUp’s Gantt chart is perfect for project planning, and it takes just three simple steps to create.
That’s it. You’ve got yourself a beautiful Gantt chart.
And the best way to let your stakeholders visualize your project plan is by sharing it.
If you want to share your Gantt chart with the internal stakeholders, give them the Permission to access it.
For the external stakeholders, just share the public link.
Note: Too much information is as bad as too little of it. Limit an information overload with Permissions and Public Sharing. This way, your stakeholders get to see only the things that matter to them.
Want to organize your tasks so your stakeholders can see what’s related to what?
Use Task Relationships to link such tasks.
It’s such a great way to group-related activities.
2. Set up a communication plan
For stakeholders project management is all about those timely updates.
You have to keep every stakeholder group and individual informed, and that requires a communication plan.
Is it going to be via emails, kickoff meetings, video conferences, and banana calls?
Great for snack time. Not so much for communication!
Here’s an idea.
Why not keep the communication right where you work?
Like in ClickUp’s Chat View. You can talk about anything and everything without leaving your project management platform.
Isn’t that convenient?
You won’t have to waste time switching between apps or even tabs to communicate.
Add Guests (external stakeholders) to your chats and decide if they can create a Chat View or not.
Is chat not your thing?
Host and join Zoom meetings right from ClickUp, thanks to the Zoom integration.
And if you’re one of those people who can’t part with emails, we’ve got a solution for you too.
You can send and receive emails directly from your ClickUp tasks using Email ClickApp.
You can even create email templates to quickly communicate with people.
Speaking of emails, if you need to send any legal documents or contracts that need some alterations, you won’t have to look elsewhere.
Our Proofing features offer PDF annotation as well.
3. Share your workload distribution
Sharing your workload distribution is an important part of your stakeholder management plan because it shows them:
- Your project goals can be achieved
- You know what you’re doing
- You have the right resources/capacity
It’s kinda like letting your restaurant guests visit the kitchen. They get to see how you’re making their food in hygienic conditions, and maybe even compliment the chef!
Don’t you want that sweet, sweet praise too?!
Then show your stakeholders what you’re working with the Workload view.
This feature lets you organize your project in a way that achieves the most results without burning your team out.
Stakeholders will no longer be left in the dark.
Moreover, you get to make the case for more time, resources, or expertise based on your workload distribution.
4. Let them view progress and gain insights
Who doesn’t like to see progress?
Your stakeholders want to know how well the project is doing and how far it’s from the finish line. And what’s better than a project dashboard to give you and your stakeholders an insight into project progress.
Are you thinking of creating dashboards from scratch? Maybe on Excel?
Try ClickUp’s Dashboards instead.
To bring in project insights to your Dashboard, you can add Widgets such as:
ClickUp’s Sprint Widgets give you these charts to visualize your project progress:
- Velocity: visualize the completion rate of the project tasks and determine work capacity for future sprints
- Cumulative Flow Diagram: view your tasks’ status progress overtime and detect bottlenecks
- Burnup: visualize your completed work and total project work
- Burndown: track the amount of work left and time remaining to do the work
For internal stakeholders, share access to view or edit using Permissions.
You take the call.
For external stakeholders, you can always export data from your Dashboards Widgets in multiple formats, including PDF, JPEG, CSV, etc.
Complete Stakeholder Management under One Roof
Stakeholder influence can make or break your project outcome.
That’s how powerful they can be.
You have to cater to their needs, keep them in the loop, and so much more.
And the only way to do all that is with a solid stakeholder management strategy and a powerful project management tool.
That’s where ClickUp comes in.
Get ClickUp for free today so that you and your stakeholders can produce one successful project after another!
Evan is a Content Coordinator at ClickUp, where he’s usually absorbed in composing copy making efficiencies more efficient. When weather permits, he can be found jogging around Cleveland. When it doesn’t, he can be found somewhere warm painting, cooking, and consuming all things horror- and fantasy-related.