Identifying Project Stakeholders

Micro Learning Unit

The main stakeholder in any project is the client. The client is the one whose needs are the driving force behind the project and is likely to be the one who will derive the most benefit from the project upon its completion.

Differentiation must be made between the paying clients and the clients who are the ultimate end users of the project’s outcome. When estimating a project’s success or failure, the primary indicator is client value. If the end user client does not derive the expected value from the project deliverables, then the project has failed—even if the project has met all the objectives set out by the paying client.

Identifying stakeholders is essential both for managing the involvement of those who derive some benefit from the project, and for managing the objections of those with whom the project results do not benefit.

The stakeholders in the project may be many and varied, including:

The Client

Internal or external customer that directly benefits from the project; Has direct impact on project goals; Dictating how certain activities will be carried out; Giving instructions to the project manager; Has some responsibility to complete various tasks in the project

End User

Anyone who will ultimately use the product or service developed within the project’s framework; the project’s success or failure largely depends on their willingness to avail themselves of the deliverables

Project Sponsor

A central figure with a high investment in project targets and deliverables; this stakeholder is usually actively involved in the decision making process, and is often in charge of the project’s budget

The Project Manager

Responsible for leading the project; Responsible for planning and controlling the project; Reports on project progress to all stakeholders and parties involved; Develops and motivates the project team; Removes obstacles from the way; Navigating the depths of corporate politics

Other Miscellaneous Stakeholders

Anyone who is not necessarily interested in the project or its outcome but who is nonetheless affected by it—sometimes significantly—due to environmental, organizational, or social factors; for example, the Environmental Protection Agency or other ’Green’ agencies

Team Member

Responsible for carrying out various tasks in the project; Acts according to instruction from his supervisor; Reports to his immediate superior

Key Team Member

Has significant knowledge or expertise relevant to the project; Assist the project manager; Has a unique contribution to the planning and progress of the project; Responsible for the progress and completion of various tasks in the project


Stakeholders who provide services or are responsible for certain tasks necessary for the completion of the project; suppliers are invested in the project’s success and the income it might generate, and are often central figures in the project