roles of stakeholders

A stakeholder is anyone who has an impact on, or needs to know about your project, this can include; the project team, investors, subject matter experts (SME’s), customers, managers, educators, suppliers and more. Keeping track of their potential impact on your project is a key aspect of stakeholder management – the more power they have over your project outcomes – the happier you need to keep them!

Who are the stakeholders in a project?

Roles of Project Stakeholders: Positions, Examples, and Industry Variations

In any project, stakeholders play a crucial role, shaping its overall direction and success. They can hold various positions, depending on the project’s size, complexity, and industry. As such, understanding the roles and responsibilities of project stakeholders is essential for effective project management.

Examples of stakeholder positions include project sponsors, project managers, team members, end-users or consumers, suppliers, and regulators, among others. The involvement of these stakeholders may vary by industry, with some more heavily influenced by regulatory bodies, while others might require more collaboration with suppliers and consumers.

It is important to recognize the distinct roles and expectations of each stakeholder group, as their contributions and support can significantly impact a project’s outcome. By effectively managing stakeholder relationships and expectations, project leaders can foster enhanced collaboration, improve communication, and ultimately, drive successful project completion.

Roles of Project Stakeholders

Project stakeholders play diverse roles in the project lifecycle. Their positions and responsibilities vary according to the industry and project size. This section provides examples and variations in roles held by stakeholders in different industries.

In the construction industry, key stakeholders often include:

  • Project manager: Responsible for project planning, execution, and closure.
  • Architect: Designs the project and ensures it adheres to structural and aesthetic standards.
  • General contractor: Oversees construction and manages subcontractors.
  • Subcontractors: Specialize in specific areas such as plumbing, electrical, or carpentry work.
  • Material suppliers: Provide resources and materials required for the construction.
  • Local authorities: Issue permits and enforce building codes.
  • Client: Establishes project objectives and provides funding.

In the technology industry, typical stakeholder roles include:

  • Product owner: Accountable for project success and represents the end-users’ needs.
  • Scrum master: Facilitates agile processes and removes obstacles for the development team.
  • Development team: Designs, develops, tests, and maintains the software or hardware product.
  • Quality assurance team: Ensures that the product meets quality standards and user expectations.
  • Technical support team: Provides assistance to users and resolves issues in the product.
  • Marketing and sales teams: Promote and sell the product in the market.

Healthcare industry project stakeholders often consist of:

  • Hospital administration: Oversees the project and ensures it aligns with the organization’s goals.
  • Physicians and nurses: Provide input on clinical requirements and workflows.
  • IT staff: Implement and maintain the technology infrastructure.
  • Patients and family members: Share their experiences and expectations for healthcare services.
  • Pharmaceutical and medical equipment suppliers: Ensure the supply of necessary materials and resources.
  • Healthcare regulators: Ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.

All these roles demonstrate the variety and diversity of responsibilities that stakeholders carry within different industries. Being aware of these roles can help project teams facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among stakeholders.

Positions in Projects

Understanding different positions in projects is crucial to ensure effective communication and collaboration in any project. Here are examples of various roles and their variations across industries:

  • Project Manager (PM): The individual responsible for planning, executing, and closing a project, typically involved in all project stages.
  • Business Analyst (BA): A professional who examines business processes and offers recommendations to streamline operations or enhance efficiency.
  • Software Developer: An individual skilled in designing, developing, and testing software solutions for different industry sectors.
  • Quality Assurance (QA) Analyst: A role focused on ensuring products meet quality standards and desired requirements. They usually work closely with developers and testers.
  • Subject Matter Expert (SME): A person with extensive knowledge in a specific field or industry, brought in to advise or provide input on project-related topics.
  • User Experience (UX) Designer: A role focused on optimizing the user’s interaction with an application or product by considering usability, accessibility, and overall user satisfaction.
  • Graphic Designer: A professional responsible for creating visual elements to communicate a message or concept in both digital and print materials.

These roles can differ across industries as well:

ConstructionConstruction Project Manager, Site Engineer, Architect
HealthcareHealthcare Project Manager, Clinical Project Coordinator, Health Informatics Specialist
ManufacturingManufacturing Project Manager, Production Planner, Lean Manufacturing Specialist
FinanceFinance Project Manager, Financial Analyst, Compliance Officer

Finally, it’s important to note that the roles or titles may also vary, depending on the size or complexity of the project.

Examples of Stakeholders in Various Industries

In the software development industry, common project stakeholder roles include:

  • Product owner (responsible for defining and prioritizing product features)
  • Software developers (responsible for writing and testing code)
  • Quality assurance (QA) testers (responsible for ensuring software quality through testing)
  • Project manager (responsible for planning, organizing, and managing resources)

In the construction industry, project stakeholder roles might consist of:

  • Client (the organization or individual commissioning the construction project)
  • Architect (responsible for creating the overall design and visual representation of the project)
  • Construction manager (responsible for overseeing the entire construction process)
  • Contractors and subcontractors (responsible for performing specific tasks, such as electrical or plumbing work)
  • Regulatory agencies (ensuring the project adheres to legal and environmental requirements)

Within the healthcare industry, projects may involve these key stakeholder roles:

  • Healthcare provider (responsible for defining patient care requirements and standards)
  • Physicians and nurses (responsible for providing patient care and services)
  • Administrative staff (responsible for managing and organizing resources)
  • Vendors and suppliers (responsible for providing equipment, medications, and other supplies)
  • Regulatory bodies (ensuring the project adheres to healthcare laws and regulations)

Variations by Industry

Project stakeholders can hold different positions depending on the industry they are in. This variation is essential to understand the roles, responsibilities, and interests of stakeholders in specific industry contexts. Here are some examples:

Construction Industry:

  • Project Owner: often a property developer or investor.
  • Architect: responsible for the design and aesthetics of the project.
  • General Contractor: oversees construction and manages subcontractors.
  • Subcontractors: specialized contractors in fields like plumbing, electrical, or landscaping.

Software Development Industry:

  • Product Owner: represents the voice of the customer or end-users.
  • Developers: write, test, and debug code for the software.
  • QA Testers: ensure the software meets quality standards and functional requirements.
  • Project Manager: coordinates resources, timelines, and scope for the project.

Healthcare Industry:

  • Hospital/Clinic Administrator: oversees the overall management and operation.
  • Medical Professionals: doctors, nurses, and specialists involved in patient care.
  • Medical Equipment Supplier: provides essential healthcare devices and tools.
  • Government/Regulatory Agencies: ensure compliance with healthcare laws and guidelines.

Non-profit Organizations:

  • Executive Director: leads the organization and sets its strategic direction.
  • Board Members: provide governance and oversight of the organization’s activities.
  • Volunteers: assist with various tasks, such as fundraising or community outreach.
  • Donors: provide financial support to the organization.

Challenges and Solutions

Project stakeholders may encounter various challenges across industries. Here, we discuss some common issues faced by stakeholders and their corresponding solutions.

Challenge: Role ambiguity among stakeholders. In various industries, project stakeholders may not have clearly defined roles, leading to confusion and inefficiency.
Solution: Clearly outline responsibilities and expectations for each role, and maintain open communication channels among stakeholders to resolve doubts.

Challenge: Balancing competing interests. Stakeholders from different backgrounds and industries may have divergent goals, which can create conflicts.
Solution: Establish a common project objective and encourage open discussions to ensure a shared understanding of priorities and alignment of interests.

Challenge: Stakeholder resistance to change. Some stakeholders may be resistant to adopting new processes or technologies, impeding project progression.
Solution: Use change management strategies, such as providing training and support, to facilitate stakeholder adaptation to new methodologies or tools.

In summary, by addressing these challenges and implementing effective strategies, project stakeholders can achieve improved collaboration and better project outcomes.


In various industries, a diverse range of positions exists for people within project management. Several common roles found across industries include project managers, project sponsors, team members, and end-users. However, specific roles may differ based on the nature of the industry.

For instance, within the construction industry, some strategic roles like architects, engineers, and site supervisors may be necessary for successful project execution. In the technology sector, it is typical to see software developers, UI/UX designers, and quality assurance personnel as crucial project stakeholders. Healthcare projects may require input from medical professionals, regulatory specialists, and public health experts.

The effective fulfillment of each stakeholder’s responsibilities is crucial to the success of a project. It is vital for project participants to understand their specific roles and work collaboratively to ensure that projects run smoothly and achieve their objectives.

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