This paper by R. Max Wideman was first published as part of Chapter 17 in A Field Guide to Project Management, 2nd Edition, edited by David I. Cleland and published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey, 2004.
The original paper has received minor updates and is published here August 2015.

Introduction | Who Are the Stakeholders? | Internal Projects
Hidden Stakeholders | Keeping Internal Stakeholders on Your Side
External Projects | How to Identify Public Stakeholders

Keeping Internal Stakeholders on Your Side

Having recruited members to the project team, the next step is to form a viable working group. It is a question of team building covered in detail in this book in Section V: "Team Management". However, a few pointers are worth mentioning here in the context of motivating stakeholders:

  • Make sure that the project is in alignment with the enterprise's strategic objectives. An excellent approach to this end is the Hierarchy of Objectives tool described by Robert Youker[2] in his paper Defining the Hierarchy of Project Objectives: Linking Organizational Strategy, Programs and Projects.[3]
  • Decide on and maintain an appropriate level of stakeholder involvement, particularly for those who are not directly involved in the project team.
  • Start the team-building process by holding a project start-up workshop including both the principal stakeholders and those who will be doing the actual work. A checklist for this workshop should include:
    • Description of existing situation
    • Goals and objectives of the project, or problems the project is designed to solve
    • Consequent assumptions, benefits, risks, and constraints
    • Tentative overall schedule and work plan or operating mode
    • Allocation or delegation of responsibilities
    • How communication will be conducted, formally and informally
    • Technical interactivity expectations
  • Working as a team, develop the project intent into a viable scope-of-work that obtains buy-in to the project's objectives
  • Similarly, list the project's KSIs such as:
    • Reduced customer complaints as measured by the number of entries in the complaints log
    • Improved processing of accounting as measured by time to invoice
    • Improved product quality as measured by reduced mean time between failure
    • Better public image as measured by increased positive publicity and reduced negative publicity
    • Improved profitability as measured by reduced processing costs
    • Better market penetration as measured by increased market share
  • Encourage full and part-time team members to continue doing their best by maintaining a positive project culture. This requires the following:
    • Maintaining visible, clear and consistent objectives, that are understood and well worthwhile
    • Ensuring open, honest, accurate, and continuing communication
    • Demonstrating evident benefit to individual team members by way of experience and/or enjoyable effort
    • Rapid removal of obstacles to performance
    • Visible recognition and reward for excellence
Hidden Stakeholders  Hidden Stakeholders

2. Youker, Robert. Defining the Hierarchy of Project Objectives: Linking Organizational Strategy, Programs and Projects. See
3. You can find Robert Youker's paper at
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