Project Management 101: What is a project stakeholder?
In a nutshell, a project stakeholder is someone who is either involved with the development of a project, affected by the outcome, or both. They can be internal or external to the organization, and can usually exert some degree of influence over the project’s activities and objectives.
There are various types of stakeholders, some with direct involvement in the project, and some without. Some of the most common are:
- Project Manager – You and your colleagues, who are in charge of organizing the project and its participants and seeing it through to completion
- Project Team – The team members and contributors who are responsible for executing the project
- Project Sponsor – This person is responsible for the project within the organization and has final authority over any decisions.
- Customer – The end users of the project, who may be either internal or external to the organization
- Upper Management – C-Level Managers within the organization who are affected by or involved in the execution of the project
What are Their Roles and Responsibilities?
Project stakeholders will have different responsibilities depending on their role and level of participation, and one stakeholder will often take multiple roles as necessary.
Producer. This is a role that works in the weeds, having a direct hand in the project’s day to day execution and management. Project managers and the project team often fall within this role, and so do vendors and other contributors not directly associated with the PMO.
Project advocate. This is one of the executive sponsor’s primary roles: to have ownership of the project and to promote it to the rest of the executive management team. This also involves getting the necessary buy-in from other departments in order to roll it out to the entire organization.
Resource manager. All projects need resources, whether it’s manpower, materials, or funding. The resource manager is in charge of procuring or managing these resources for the producers. Human resources and purchasing managers could fall under this role.
Approving authority. The deliverables will need to be approved at various stages of the project, whether internally or externally. Any stakeholder that needs to provide feedback on deliverables or decisions falls under this role, whether it be an end user, executive sponsor, project manager, or line manager.
End user. The project’s true customers may or may not be represented during project development. If not, the project has to be approved by an authority who is closely involved with the end user and has a clear idea of their requirements.
Image credit, Flickr, Jeff Eaton
Patrick Icasas is a former marketing project manager with 7 years of marketing and PR agency experience, managing creative projects for brands such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, and Adobe. He now spends his time helping people make the most out of their project management software and entertaining his 5 year old daughter.