Very early in the life of a project, it is an imperative necessity to identify the stakeholders. In order to achieve the same one need to understand what a stakeholder is!

Stakeholders are people or groups, which have absolute concern with regards to the outcome of the project. A stakeholder can be any person or organization that is actively involved in a project or whose interest may be positively or negatively affected by execution of a project.

The complexity, intricacy and scope of the project determine the number of stakeholders involved in a project. A project manager must identify and list all potential stakeholders prior to the inception of the project.

Now we need to answer, who are the potential stakeholders? In a stakeholder categorization we come across the following eight groups.

1) Output delivery stakeholders – these are individual groups or institutions that are responsible for the delivery of the project’s outcome. This comprises of project contractors, sub-contractors and team members.

2) Project usage stakeholders – business usage and customers are the ones in this category. They directly or indirectly use the project products.

3) Project support stakeholders – as the name suggests, they are responsible for ensuring that project product is available for use by the project usage group. They embody application and technical support group.

4) Funding authority stakeholders – the executives, project sponsors, business managers, creditors, investors and stock holders constitute this group. They are answerable for the project’s outcome and give a go-ahead to release of funds and procurement of resources.

5) Contributor stakeholders – this group provides inputs and services to the projects. Contributors include service group, suppliers and/or contractors.

6) Review or audit stakeholders – the review or the audit stakeholders inspect the project and its deliverables to ensure that apt processes are followed and appropriate standards are met with. They include technical review groups, project management office, quality review groups, consumer groups, auditors, regulatory agencies and environmental agencies.

7) Outcome affected stakeholders – the public, press, media, unions, bargaining units, competitors and all of those who are affected by the project’s outcome constitute this group.

8) Related project stakeholders – this group includes other project managers and their team who may influence a project’s team ability to make the project’s design.

Some organizations use a definite tool, RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted and informed), to assign and allot stakeholders by their level of project involvement and responsibility. It is a useful way to classify the stakeholders, so that one can device the most able communication strategy for each person or group. Stakeholders are defined as:

1) Responsible – this person is responsible for completion of the task, i.e., the doer of the activity

2) Accountable – this person is accountable for unfinished task and may manage the person who is responsible for completing the task. This role is handled by Project managers.

3) Consulted – though not responsible for completion, the person is consulted about various facets of the task. Typically includes an important stakeholder or a subject matter expert.

4) Informed – a passive role player who is kept informed but is not under obligation for the task. Someone who needs to know or wants to know but is not an active participant in the particular activity.

Cognitel aims to provide good practice essentials for identifying stakeholders in a dynamic context, hence provides intensive PMP Training on all aspects of project stakeholder management within its own or clients team. As well, it prepares participants for the stakeholder management module in the PMP Certification Exam.

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