A stakeholder is an individual, group or organization that is related to the project in some way. Stakeholders may affect, be affected or perceive themselves as
affected by a project decision, result or activity. It is not always easy to identify all the project stakeholders, especially if they are indirect stakeholders.

The stakeholder may participate in the project or try to influence the team so that the final result satisfies its interests or needs. Hence, stakeholders and expectations between different stakeholders in the project may sometimes be contradictory, meaning conflicts may arise during project development. The project leader must be capable of managing these expectations.

The stakeholder group consists of the project team members and all those individuals and entities with an interest in the project, whether internal or external. The project team normally divides these into internal and external, negative and positive, executors and advisers. Producing a stakeholder map for the project is good practice, as it allows a clear definition of relationships between the various stakeholders and the team.

One of the duties of the project manager is to maintain balanced expectations among all stakeholders so the project is not overwhelming and be capable of properly managing those expectations. Relations with the project may change during the life cycle. Therefore, they should be constantly identified and managed. Involvement by a stakeholder may be total, intermittent or occasional, meaning the project team should also identify stakeholders in time by cooperating with them professionally and managing their expectations and interests. Not doing so at the right time can lead to delays, budget increases, loss of quality, problems with acceptance of deliverables, etc.

Here are some example project stakeholders:

• Project team
• Sponsors
• Clients and users
• Vendors
• Business partners
• Departments within the organization
• Suppliers
• Customers
• Other stakeholders

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