Defining the Stakeholders

Explore stakeholder identification through requirements refinement and project execution, and learn to use RACI chart for effective communication.

Finding stakeholders and defining a communication plan is often depicted as a one-time, early-on process. However, like most processes in project and program management, it’s cyclical. Depending on the size of the project or company, doing this all upfront may be achievable in a single pass; however, as the project size and company size increase, this becomes something that is often revisited as new stakeholders are discovered. Here are a few ways to find out who our stakeholders are.

Requirements gathering and refinement is an opportunity to not only understand the requirements better but to determine who the requirements impact or involve, such as the owner of a service.

Talking with the stakeholders we’ve already identified will give us a different perspective on the requirements and impact. They might know of clients from their services that are impacted by the changes they must make that we aren’t aware of. Anyone impacted by the project, no matter how far down the chain or seemingly tangential they may seem, is a stakeholder.

During project execution, especially during low-level designs, details may come to light that highlight a stakeholder that we weren’t aware of. New developers may also come on and off the project, requiring updates to our list. The more we drive clarity in our requirements, designs, and risks, the more clarity we’ll simultaneously drive in who our stakeholders are.

Stakeholder list

In the table below, we’ve drafted a partial stakeholder list for the Mercury program:

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