Stakeholders in development projects
The term 'stakeholder' refers to anyone that has an interest in a project and can influence its success.
It is important to identify stakeholders in a project as early as possible. They may include:
- Members of the client organisation (such as user panels, champions and department heads).
- Other user groups (such as customers, residents, occupants, and visitors).
- Neighbours and community groups.
- Funders and shareholders.
- The local authority.
- Other statutory authorities and non-statutory consultees.
- Special interest groups such as heritage organisations.
- The emergency services.
- Statutory undertakers.
Stakeholders may not all have the same objectives. It is important therefore to identify areas of convergence and areas of difference between them and to manage individuals whose expectations are unlikely to be met. A first step in considering how to interact with stakeholders can be the preparation of a stakeholder map or stakeholder matrix (see examples on the archived OGC website and Buro Happold: A Rough Guide to Stakeholder Mapping)
A stakeholder map might assess:
- The likely impact of the development on the stakeholder.
- The issues that they will have an interest in.
- Their likely position.
- Their ability to influence the development.
- Their potential impact on the project.
- Potential mitigating actions.
A stakeholder map allows a plan to be developed for how to manage the involvement of different stakeholder groups. Clearly, a stakeholder that the project will significantly impact upon, who has a strong ability to influence the development and is likely to be against it, will require a great deal of attention. This may result in the preparation of a stakeholder management plan outlining strategies for stakeholder communication and consultation.
Where the intention is to involve stakeholders in the development of the project, they should be involved early on to allow them to influence key stages such as brief development, rather than just allowing them to comment on designs after they have been completed (see the article consultation process for more information).
Stakeholders can provide useful feedback (and an indication of the likely response to a subsequent planning application) however, as they may not be experienced in building projects, and their actions may be beyond the control of the client, their involvement requires careful organisation, and a clearly understood mandate. Large or complex projects may benefit from a professional third-party facilitator to ensure that stakeholder involvement is properly managed.
A variety of communicating methods can be used to help stakeholders properly understand the project (such as 3d visualisations) and a variety of consultation methods can be adopted:
- One to one consultations.
- Focus groups.
- Exhibitions and open-days.
- Printed materials.
- The use of specialist toolkits and games.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Collaborative practices.
- Community engagement in conservation.
- Consultation process.
- Design quality.
- Design review.
- Non-statutory consultees.
- Project risk.
- Risk management.
- Risk register.
- Stakeholder map.
- Stakeholder management.
- Statutory authorities.
- Statutory undertakers.
- Third party dependencies.
- User panels.
 External references
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