Project Stakeholders

A project stakeholder is a person or organization that is actively involved in the project, or whose interests are affected by the project. They have an interest (stake) in the project. If a stakeholder benefits from the success of the project, they are a positive stakeholder; whereas if a stakeholder benefits from the failure of the project, they are a negative stakeholder.  The members of the project team and performing organization are expected to be positive stakeholders. A competitor is an example of a likely negative stakeholder. Stakeholders can be both internal (belonging to the organization performing the project) or external (not belonging to the performing organization). A given stakeholder may or may not exert influence over the outcomes of the project. Examples of stakeholders include the project sponsor, project manager, project management team, project team, as well as any PMO office or customers. The fourth edition PMBOK® has added a process called Identify Stakeholders which emphasizes knowing who the stakeholders are early in the project, and understanding their interests, expectations, and level of influence over the project. The Stakeholder Register and Stakeholder Management Strategy are outputs to the Identify Stakeholders process that document information concerning the project’s stakeholders.

From a Triple Constraint to Six Constraints

Central to the work of a project manager is balancing competing demands. The term “triple constraint” is a well-known phrase in project management that refers to the competing demands of scope, time, and cost. The manner in which these three demands are balanced affects quality. If one of these factors is affected, at least one other factor will also be affected. For example, if the scope of the project increases, there will need to be an increase in the amount of time to complete the project, an increase in costs, or both.  The new, fourth edition PMBOK® changes the name “time” to “schedule” and changes “cost” to “budget”, plus adds three new constraints. The six constraints are: Scope, Quality, Schedule, Budget, Resources, and Risk. Now quality isn’t merely affected by how the constraints are balanced—it is considered an actual constraint. Especially when dealing with highly-skilled individuals as resources, it makes sense to consider them a unique constraint as there may be very few each with limited time to commit to a single project. If stakeholders decide to change their tolerance for risk, this will affect other constraints as well. How to balance these constraints is a skill, and how they should be balanced differs across projects. For example, a certain deadline might be crucial to meet, and the project may be given as much funds as they need in order to meet that deadline. Conversely, it may be impossible to increase the budget, so the scope and quality have to be reduced. In your experience, what has been the most important constraint in your projects?