Whether you are starting a small project or kicking off a complex project, there are so many things that you have to deal with at the initial stage. From setting the goals to finalizing scope and allocating resources, all these activities are important but it is essential that you identify who your project stakeholders are and consult with them before carrying out these activities.
Stakeholders are people who are directly or indirectly involved or have vested interest in a project. A successful project is one that satisfies the expectations of all stakeholders. In this article, we share key stakeholders whom you cannot ignore before commencing any project.
Key Project Stakeholders
1. Top Management
According to Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession High Cost of Low Performance report, 60% of projects are not aligned with business strategy of the company and one of the key reason behind is the lack of support from top management. Due to this, projects and business strategy contradict each other and lead to demise of organizations.
Top management of company is responsible for devising the strategy to achieve organizational objectives. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep the top management involved and engaged throughout the project. This will help you to ensure that your projects are aligned with organizational goals and do not move in a different direction.
The most important stakeholder that deserves special attention is the end user of the product. The success and failure of your project is measured by the customer/user satisfaction level. If your project fulfills core requirements, give something extra, and delights the user by exceeding their expectations, then your project will be successful.
This can happen only if you involve end-users in the product development process and make sure they’re heard and their views are taken into consideration while shaping the features of the product. This will help you to deliver exactly what your end-users want, which will automatically increase their satisfaction level. Additionally, this will also save you from scope creep problems and increased costs associated with reworking later on in the project.
3. Subject Matter Experts
You might be wondering who are subject-matter experts? They are the technical experts who know everything about a particular domain. Subject matter experts have specialized knowledge and skills in a particular domain. For instance, civil engineers are well versed in the art of constructing bridges and buildings. Subject matter experts could include anyone from IT, engineering, business analysis and many more. These domain experts can play an important role in making your project successful. Consulting with them before kicking off your project will give you special insights that will help you throughout the project. Moreover, they can also tell you about the hurdles that you might have to face during the projects.
4. Finance Team
On average, 45% of large IT projects exceed the budget allocated to them and 56% of these projects delivered lesser ROI than expected, according to PMI Pulse of Profession report. Imagine yourself in the role of project manager who has not consulted with the financial team before acquiring the budget for the project. What do you think will happen? The probability of your project exceeding the budget increases tremendously and you might end up spending more money on the project than allocated.
One of the main reasons why most projects exceed budget is that project managers do not consult with their finance team before starting a project. You can easily get over financial issues by coordinating with your finance department from the start of the project. Tell them about the financial resources you need to complete the project. Give them some time to access your financial plans, identify the loopholes and monitor the feasibility of the model you are using. Keep the finance department engaged instead of keeping them in the dark.
If you are a project manager who wants to achieve the best results, it is imperative that you consult project management offices. Apart from telling you what the best project management practices are, these project management offices can prove to be an asset by giving you access to a massive searchable database to extract key information. Once equipped with this information, executing your plans would become a lot smoother and the chances of your project’s success would increase substantially.
6. Your Project Team
As a project manager, your team should be your top priority. Give them direction, support them in project activities and take regular feedback from your team members. A task management software can help you in this regard. Any team member can give you a great idea that could help you in surpassing the expectations of the stakeholders. Listen to your team members and work together to drive your project towards success.
All project managers have to do is that keep all team members on the same page to avoid common workplace conflicts. Keep the communication channel open and motivate your team members to share their opinion with you. This will keep them engaged and own the project.
7. Legal Team
If you are working on a project that will change the world by introducing new features or higher security requirements, then you will also have to consult with the legal team. Discussing potential legal problems with the legal experts can help you avoid them later on. Make sure that you are abreast of the latest rules and regulations related to your project otherwise, you could land into trouble. Consulting with legal team can help you in overcoming legal issues and compliance issues.
8. Contractors and Suppliers
There are instances where your project scope could go beyond your organizational capabilities. To fill in those gaps, organizations either outsource their work through contractors or rely on their supplier network. Organizations rely on them to ensure uninterrupted supply of resources needed to complete the projects on time.
Some projects depend heavily on suppliers to deliver the goods on time and if there is a shortage of goods or delays in delivery, the chances of project failure increase drastically. Managing suppliers and contractors, integrating your systems with theirs is critical to ensure successful completion of large-scale projects. In some cases, managing supplier relationships and dealing with contractors can take up a lot of your precious time so be careful.
Apart from many different variables to handle, project managers should also focus on aforementioned stakeholders to complete projects successfully. Although, some of them might come into play only in certain types of projects but other stakeholders such as users, top management, financial team and project team will play a crucial role in every project. You can easily achieve half the success if you know how to handle these stakeholders. If you know about any important project stakeholder that is not on this list, share it with us in the comment section below.