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Do you know who your internal stakeholders are? Who is it within your team, organization, cross group, and across your whole company that will be either involved with or affected by the project?

Do you know who your external stakeholders are? Which set or sets of external stakeholders are going to be either involved with or affected by the project? Are any of them state or local government officials?

Do you know what the drivers are for your stakeholders? What are their personal agendas, goals, fears, desires for the project’s outcome?

Do you know the level of influence of each of your stakeholders? Which of your stakeholders have no direct influence on how the project is executed but has substantial influence over the project’s success or failure? Which of your stakeholders have substantial influence throughout the project?

Do you know what it will take to satisfy each of your stakeholders? What expectations do your stakeholders have and have you taken consideration and steps to properly set and address them?

Do you know how your stakeholders like to be communicated with during the project? How much and how often do your stakeholders want reports from you and what is it that they want to know from you? Have you accounted for any time zone differences? What about escalations?

Remember, the term “stakeholders” includes everyone involved with or affected by the project and it includes those who can potentially affect the project in either a positive or negative way. Which do you think would be a likely cause of a stakeholder having a negative affect on the project; you knowing them or you not knowing them? Yea, really knowing your stakeholders is the best option to not have a stakeholder negatively affect your project.

The best friends you can have during your project are your stakeholders if you take the time to know who they are. Your stakeholders can be your worst enemy during your project if you don’t know who they are. I suggest that you take the time to really get to know who your stakeholders are and gain some new best friends.

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