Stakeholder Identification: A key to Project Success

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15th Feb, 2023
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Stakeholder Identification: A key to Project Success

A Stakeholder plays an important role in the long-term success of an organization by making better strategic decisions, aligning business goals, and minimizing risks. Stakeholder management is the process of organizing, monitoring and improving your relationship with the project's stakeholders.  

According to the PMBOK Guide, project stakeholders are individuals and organizations who are actively involved in the project or whose interests, either positive or negative, affect the result of execution or success or completion of the project. This emphasizes creating an effective stakeholder management plan that aids in mapping the level of interest and influencing the engagement level with stakeholders. 

A recent survey shows that over 1/3 of project managers expect a distinct purpose and company strategy. Hence, it is critical to follow good practices in project management and maintain consistent communication to collaborate effectively. This guide will help you acquire a distinct idea of the strategic benefits of strategic management in achieving your career goals. 

Question: You are leading a project as a Project Manager for developing a Client’s new website. Neither your company nor your Client specializes in creating websites, yet this Client needs to be suitably impressed to ensure future business with them. Extremely stringent deadlines have been imposed for the completion of the project, with both the Client and your organization losing dearly if there are any delays.

The Charter has already been signed off, and the Project Management Plan has been approved for this fast-track project. It is agreed that frequent meetings along with reports shall be submitted to the Client to keep their personnel informed of the project’s status and highlight any potential reasons for delay much before such catastrophes occur. You have been able to control the schedule and budget, and the obligatory review with the Client is being planned.

It is then you are informed that the entire effort may be canceled because the specifications of the website are totally unacceptable to the Client. What is the MOST likely reason for this termination?

Option Answers:

  • The Client desired changes to the Project Management Plan that were not complied to.
  • The Level of commitment of the Client was not analyzed
  • The Client’s key stakeholder was not identified and involved in the project
  • The Client was unhappy with the status reporting

Before we discuss the right answer, note that important pointers for solving long-worded questions shall be discussed separately in this blog.

The answer to the above Question is C

It is essential that all the key decision makers, influencers, and their requirements are identified early in the project to ensure that they do not bulldoze a smooth-running project into oblivion, as narrated in the above question. A single powerful influencer can jeopardize an entire project if not satisfied or due to the sole reason that he or she was not given due respect or attention (in comparison to his peers) on the project.

Such seemingly minor things may come back to haunt you back and even damage your smoothly-running endeavor! Even in the above question, if the assessment and identification of stakeholders had been carried out throughout the project, there was a good likelihood that the undesirable termination would have been avoided.

Let us see in detail, Identify Stakeholders, the first process in the “Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area”.

Stakeholder Management Process

1. Identify Stakeholders

Stakeholders are identified as part of the project initiation, and this list requires to be reviewed and updated as the project progresses. The process involves identifying everyone remotely connected with the project (individuals, groups, or organizations) that could impact or be impacted by a project's decision, activity, or outcome. It also entails analyzing and documenting relevant information regarding their interests, involvement, interdependencies, influence, and potential impact on project success. Identifying all stakeholders in the initial stage itself helps in better manageable projects as it helps in factoring all stakeholder’s interests at the planning stage itself. Obviously, in case any new stakeholders are identified subsequently and their requirements understood, the plans may need to be subsequently revised to accommodate those requirements.

Identify Stakeholder Management

Knowledge Area: Stakeholder Management

Process Group: Initiation

PMBOK 13.1


InputsTools and TechniquesOutputs
  1. Project charter
  2. Procurement documents
  3. Enterprise environmental factors
  4. Organizational process assets


  1. Stakeholder analysis
  2. Expert judgment
  3. Meetings


  1. Stakeholder register


Remember that the “Identify Stakeholders” step is an iterative and recurring process, and a glaring example of this is the fact that Procurement Documents are an input to this process. During the execution stage of the project, as orders are placed for external services and supplies, the finalized vendors become the project’s stakeholders, and a good amount of thought needed at that time is required to enable them to be handled carefully and their performance adequately monitored to achieve a successful result eventually.

Do also remember that changes within a project, even within an organization (promotion of a Senior Manager to Director), may result in new additions to the list of Stakeholders or to the influence/impact of existing ones. Another reason for additions may be that the team may have simply missed stakeholders in the initial stage itself. Reassessing the list of stakeholders during the life of the project is vital in controlling and steering the project in a better way to achieve desired results. It is frustrating and immensely damaging to have new stakeholders and their requirements added late in the project as it shall probably result in changed requests and lead to inevitable delays and escalations in cost.

2. Stakeholder Analysis

The work of identifying stakeholders and analyzing them is done not just by the Project Manager alone. The entire project team, in consultation with subject matter experts, project managers of past similar projects, and even senior executives, need to be involved in this. Records of past projects and data-gathering techniques help in determining and analyzing stakeholders.

3. Stakeholder Register

A document that assimilates all the information collected related to stakeholders is called the Stakeholder Register. The Project Manager and his team maintain it. All the information about stakeholders is compiled in this stakeholder register, an output of the “Identify Stakeholder” process. The template for the register is derived from the Organization’s Process Assets (OPAs). The Stakeholder Register may include each stakeholder’s name, title, role, major requirements and expectations, impact and influence, attitude about the project, classification, and other relevant information that may be populated as the project progresses and more information comes in.

The “Identify Stakeholder” process produces the Stakeholder Register that is an input to other processes:

Sr. No.Knowledge AreaProcess GroupProcess
1ScopePlanningCollect Requirements
2QualityPlanningPlan Quality Management
3CommunicationsPlanningPlan Communications Management
4RiskPlanningPlan Risk Management
5RiskPlanningIdentify Risks
6ProcurementPlanningPlan Procurement Management
7StakeholderPlanningPlan Stakeholder Management
  1. Input to Collect Requirements: The stakeholder register identifies who shall provide information about the requirements and captures the major expectations of the stakeholders.
  2. Input to Plan Quality Management: The stakeholder register aids in identifying those stakeholders having a particular interest in, or impact on, quality.
  3. Input to Plan Communications Management: The stakeholder register provides information on which stakeholders have specific requirements by which project status and the issues that need to be communicated to them.
  4. Input to Plan Risk Management: The stakeholder register provides details and an overview of the roles of the stakeholders on the project.
  5. Input to Identify Risks: The stakeholder register is useful for requesting inputs from the stakeholders to identify risks and enable them to be involved in the risk identification process.
  6. Input to Plan Procurement Management: The stakeholder register enables appropriate plans to be finalized to manage procurement by providing details of the project’s external partners (suppliers and service providers) and their interests in the project.
  7. Input to Plan Stakeholder Management: The stakeholder register provides information needed to finalize the best plans for the effective engagement of the stakeholders.

As seen above, the Stakeholder Register is an important input to several planning processes. Keeping a close eye on and updating the Register as the project progresses shall help the Project Manager understand the stakeholders' ever-changing needs.


Identifying key stakeholders is a crucial step in ensuring the success of any project. By understanding the needs, expectations, and potential roadblocks of all stakeholders, project managers can effectively communicate, manage, and mitigate any issues that may arise.  

Proper stakeholder identification allows projects to move forward smoothly, meeting goals and exceeding expectations. A successful project is about completing it on time and within budget and ensuring all stakeholders are satisfied and engaged throughout the process. 

While stakeholder management can be intuitive, you can start building trustworthy relationships systematically with a formal and well-built roadmap. In a nutshell, an effective stakeholder management plan will help you to bring the potential people together, leveraging their influence, expertise and authority in the industry to successfully launch your product in the market.  


Vidhi Raj

Blog Author

Vidhi has a strong Project Management experience, is an MBA (Energy and Infrastructure) and an Electronics and Communication engineer. She is also one of the youngest “PMI India Champions” advocating PMI amongst her mentees, friends and colleagues. She is an avid blogger, an author and teaches project management concepts to Management Students with passion and enthusiasm

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are the 7 principles of stakeholder management?

Stakeholder management is an important aspect of successful project delivery. The term indicates the significance of stakeholder identification and analysis and how they can be persuaded to support the project. Outlining the Clarkson principles of stakeholder management. 

  • Acknowledge and actively analyze the concerns of all stakeholders. 
  • Communicate and consult with the stakeholders regarding their contributions to the corporation. 
  • Adopt effective processes and modes of behavior concerning the capability of the stakeholders. 
  • Recognize the interdependency of efforts and rewards among stakeholders. 
  • Work cooperatively with other organizations to reduce any risks. 
  • Avoid activities that might harm inalienable human rights. 
  • Acknowledge the conflicts of stakeholders and their responsibilities
2What are the five 5 levels of stakeholder engagement? 

Apart from stakeholder identification methods, stakeholder engagement is another crucial part of an effective project. The stakeholder engagement plan has five levels: unaware, Resistant, Neutral, supportive, and Leading. It is useful in building better relationships and improving business performance. 

3What are some ways to identify stakeholders?

The first step in project management is to identify key stakeholders and analyze who has a positive or negative influence on the success rate. Here are some ways and documents to find potential stakeholders. 

  • Project charter 
  • Interviewing the experts 
  • Brainstorming sessions/ Asking Questions. 
  • Reviewing Organisational Process Assets (OSA) and Enterprise environmental factors (EEF)