Projects are planned to meet the needs and fulfill the requirements of stakeholders. Involving a diverse range of stakeholders in a project can provide unique information on an issue from different perspectives, strengthening project design and increasing the likelihood of successful implementation. Identifying relevant stakeholders is the first step towards this process. It is beneficial to compile a stakeholder list, summarising each stakeholders’ personal interests, power, influence, expectations and requirements. This will help determine what impact they may have on the project and what affect the project may have on them. Stakeholders can be identified through simple, low-resource methods such as brainstorming, searching through team member lists from previous projects and reviewing organisational charts and directories.
Relevant stakeholders will often span a number of organisations and departments, be from different populations and backgrounds, and be based across a number of locations. It is necessary to ensure important stakeholders aren’t overlooked during the identification process. This may lead to important perspectives being missed, or key individuals feeling neglected, ignored or left out. This could cause future problems such as poor collaboration and support across your project. New stakeholders can emerge over the duration of a project and therefore, stakeholder identification must be an ongoing process. This can be time consuming and resource intensive. Some stakeholders may leave relevant positions during your project and be replaced by new individuals. It is therefore important to monitor staff rotations and adjust future correspondence accordingly.
Stakeholder identification: identifying relevant stakeholders whose interests, concerns or activities align with those of your project, or who are affected by an issue you are studying.