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Identify stakeholders

Identifying stakeholders is not always easy; do you remember the example of building a shelter in the mountain?

It’s absolutely necessary to spend enough time at the beginning and identify at least the key stakeholders. That’s essential, because at the beginning we’re collecting information and usually want to decide whether or not it’s a good idea to run the project. Some stakeholders, such as regulators, may add serious requirements to your project that significantly impact its targets, such as cost, and you may end up rejecting the project because of that information. If you don’t go though that, you may start the project and spend money on it, and then realize the requirements of that forgotten stakeholder, and you’ll be in trouble.

Besides the upfront identification, you need to repeat it frequently, and always look for new ones, because

  1. you may have missed some of the stakeholders, or
  2. changes in the environment may have added new stakeholders.

As with many other aspects of project management, a good way of identifying stakeholders is to check the list of stakeholders from similar projects the organization has completed in the past. It may remind you of some stakeholders that you might otherwise forget about. This is why we must document the project information properly and archive it for future projects.

So, review your methodology and see where it requires you to identify stakeholders. If it’s not enough for your project, add more activities to your methodology to cover it, or merge it into existing activities of the methodology.

Next: Understand and analyze