Stakeholder Engagement: Who Does What? Roles and Responsibilities Explained

Engage Like a Pro: Your Ultimate Guide to Stakeholder Engagement Roles

Effective stakeholder engagement requires clear roles and responsibilities for all parties involved. Each stakeholder has a unique role to play, and understanding these roles is crucial to achieving the desired outcome. In this article, you will learn the various stakeholder engagement roles and responsibilities, including who should be involved, what their responsibilities are, and how to effectively communicate and collaborate with stakeholders. Understanding these roles and responsibilities will help ensure that all stakeholders are aligned and working towards the same goal.

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Stakeholder engagement is the process of involving individuals, groups, or organisations who have an interest in or are impacted by a project, program, or initiative. Engaging stakeholders effectively is crucial for successful project management, as it ensures that their needs, concerns, and expectations are considered and addressed throughout the project lifecycle. Stakeholder engagement helps build trust, foster collaboration, and minimise risks by promoting open communication and timely resolution of issues.

In project management, understanding stakeholder roles and responsibilities is essential for driving project success. Stakeholders can include project sponsors, project managers, team members, customers or clients, suppliers or vendors, regulators, and community or local stakeholders.

Each of these stakeholder groups has unique roles and responsibilities that contribute to the project’s overall objectives. By clarifying these roles and maintaining open lines of communication, project managers can ensure that all stakeholders work together towards a shared goal.

In this article, I will explore the various stakeholder roles and responsibilities in-depth, discuss strategies for effective stakeholder engagement, and provide guidance on monitoring and evaluating stakeholder engagement throughout the project lifecycle.

Identifying Stakeholders

The process of stakeholder engagement in any project or program is critical for achieving its success. The purpose of stakeholder engagement is to identify and address the needs, expectations, and concerns of all individuals and groups who might be affected by the proposed change. This ensures that the project aligns with the overall goals of the organisation and reduces the risk of resistance by stakeholders.

There are several individuals involved in the process of stakeholder engagement, including the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO), program or project sponsor, program or project manager, business change manager, and program or project office. Each of these individuals plays a critical role in defining and executing the stakeholder engagement plan in alignment with business objectives.

The stakeholder engagement approach involves several key steps, including stakeholder assessment, mapping, identification of concerns, and creation and monitoring of stakeholder action plans. During stakeholder assessment, the project team identifies all potential stakeholders and assesses their impact on the project. Stakeholder mapping helps to group the stakeholders and understand their interrelationships, enabling the project team to develop a targeted engagement plan.

Identification of concerns involves examining the concerns and needs of each stakeholder group and prioritising them based on their level of importance to the project. This ensures that key stakeholders are satisfied with the project’s outcome, reducing the risk of resistance or stakeholder withdrawal.

Finally, the project team creates an action plan outlining the specific engagement activities for each stakeholder group. These activities could range from hosting one-on-one meetings with vulnerable people or hosting large events for a wide range of stakeholders. The project manager should continuously monitor the implementation of these activities and adjust them based on stakeholder input.

This approach helps the project team assess, map, prioritise, and engage stakeholders, thereby ensuring desired outcomes are realised.

Learn about the key differences between internal and external stakeholders to engage like a pro.

Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities

Stakeholders are crucial individuals or groups that can affect or be affected by a project or program. Successful stakeholder engagement not only ensures the project aligns with organisational goals but also reduces the risk of resistance by stakeholders.

Effective stakeholder management involves the participation of various individuals, including the project sponsor, project manager, project team members, customers/clients, suppliers/vendors, regulators/government agencies, community/local stakeholders, and more. Let’s find out more about each of these roles.

Project Sponsor

The project sponsor is a critical stakeholder in the stakeholder engagement process due to their executive-level role in the project’s success. As a senior stakeholder, the project sponsor assumes overall accountability for the project’s outcomes and is responsible for providing the necessary resources, funding, and support to ensure the project’s success.

The project sponsor has several key responsibilities in stakeholder engagement that include identifying and mapping out the project’s key stakeholders. They play an instrumental role in prioritising stakeholders and determining how to engage with them throughout the project’s lifecycle. Therefore, stakeholder mapping is an essential tool for the project sponsor as it helps to identify priority stakeholders and understand their interests, motivations, and concerns.

The project sponsor’s involvement in stakeholder engagement is significant since they have sufficient authority to prioritise stakeholder needs and allocate resources accordingly. They also have the power to influence the business direction, determine the project’s scope and approach to stakeholder engagement, and set the tone for the project team in engaging with stakeholders.

Overall, the project sponsor’s role in stakeholder engagement involves understanding the organisation’s various stakeholders and aligning their interests with the project’s goals and objectives. They are responsible for ensuring that all stakeholders are adequately engaged, their needs are met, and the project delivers the expected value. As such, stakeholder mapping and prioritisation are crucial skills that the project sponsor must possess to ensure successful stakeholder engagement.

Go deeper: Engage stakeholders successfully in your projects with this ultimate guide.

Project Manager

The Project Manager is a key stakeholder engagement role responsible for ensuring efficient communication and collaboration with all stakeholders throughout the project’s lifecycle. They play a vital role in ensuring the project’s success by coordinating all project-related activities and aligning them with the stakeholders’ needs and expectations.

One of the core duties of the Project Manager is to maintain close communication with all stakeholders, including external parties, business units, and vulnerable people. They need to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills to manage different stakeholders effectively. It is essential to establish and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders, such as senior stakeholders, to ensure their support and prioritise their needs.

In stakeholder engagement, it is crucial to create stakeholder biographies and maps to help project managers understand stakeholders’ interests, motivations, and preferences. Stakeholder mapping helps identify priority stakeholders and plan communication strategies, while stakeholder biographies provide insight into who each stakeholder is, their background, and how they fit into the project’s success.

A Project Manager’s constant collaboration with stakeholders is critical to ensure coherence and innovative teamwork. They are responsible for creating a dynamic approach to stakeholder engagement by encouraging collaboration between all stakeholders and setting expectations early on to ensure successful project outcomes.

Their exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, use of stakeholder biographies and mapping, and effective management skills help to align project goals with stakeholder needs and ensure everyone works together towards a successful outcome.

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Project Team Members

Project team members play a critical role in stakeholder engagement as they are responsible for working directly with stakeholders to ensure their needs and expectations are met throughout the project’s lifecycle. Effective stakeholder engagement depends on the project team members’ ability to identify key stakeholders, understand their motivations and interests, and maintain open communication channels with them.

The project team’s main responsibility is to establish and maintain effective communication channels with stakeholders. This entails identifying stakeholders and their communication preferences, setting up regular check-ins, and providing updates on the project’s progress. Project team members must ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed about project developments, any changes that may impact them, and seek their input and feedback where necessary.

In any project, conflicts are bound to arise, and it is equally essential for the project team members to recognize and manage these conflicts effectively. Managing conflicts is crucial for maintaining a positive relationship with the stakeholders and minimising the risk of any negative impacts of the project. The project team should have structures in place to handle conflicts such as predetermined communication channels, a conflict resolution protocol, and a clear escalation process for more complex issues.

Effective stakeholder engagement requires teamwork, respect for diverse viewpoints, and aligned stakeholder objectives. For this reason, it is crucial for the project team members to work collaboratively and understand the different perspectives of each stakeholder. By working together, the project team members can gain the stakeholders’ trust, build a good reputation for the project, and ensure the project’s success.

With these efforts, the project team and stakeholders can achieve aligned objectives and successful project outcomes.


Customers and clients play a pivotal role in shaping the direction and success of a project, as they are the ultimate recipients of the project’s outcomes. Their involvement throughout the project lifecycle is crucial for ensuring that the final deliverables meet their needs, expectations, and preferences. Here, we will delve into the key responsibilities of customers or clients in the context of stakeholder engagement.

At the beginning of a project, customers and clients provide essential input by clearly articulating their requirements, goals, and expectations. This information serves as the foundation for the project’s scope, objectives, and success criteria. Effective communication between the project team and customers or clients ensures that project requirements are well-defined, feasible, and aligned with the intended outcomes.

As the project progresses, customers and clients should be actively involved in reviewing and providing feedback on project deliverables. This ongoing collaboration allows the project team to identify potential issues early on, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that the final product aligns with the customers’ or clients’ vision. Timely and constructive feedback from customers and clients helps reduce the risk of project failure, rework, and dissatisfaction.

Customers and clients should also participate in regular project reviews, during which the project’s progress, challenges, and achievements are assessed. Their involvement in these reviews provides valuable insights into the project’s performance, helps the project team prioritise tasks and resources, and fosters a shared understanding of the project’s status. Engaging customers and clients in project reviews can also enhance their sense of ownership and commitment to the project’s success.

By fostering strong relationships with customers and clients, project managers can significantly increase the likelihood of project success.


Suppliers and vendors are key stakeholders for any organisation, and their involvement and support are essential to the success of any proposed change. As a result, it is crucial to identify the suppliers and vendors who will be impacted by the change, and engage with them effectively to ensure that they understand the change and its timeline. This will help them to manage the transition and minimise any negative impact on their business.

Providing clarity about the nature and scope of the change is essential when engaging with suppliers and vendors. It is essential to be open and transparent about the reasons for the change, the expected outcomes, and the potential impact on suppliers and vendors. Ensuring that they are aware of these factors ahead of time will help them to prepare and adjust their operations accordingly.

Effective communication channels are vital for engaging with suppliers and vendors, and resolving any issues or conflicts that may arise during the change. Establishing regular communication channels, such as supplier meetings, emails updates, and phone calls, will keep them informed and enable them to voice any concerns or questions they may have.

Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of engagement with suppliers and vendors is also crucial to ensuring that the change is successful. This can be achieved by tracking their satisfaction levels, analysing the quality of the communication channels, and gathering feedback on how to improve their experience.

Regulators/Government Agencies: Ensuring Compliance and Accountability

Regulators and government agencies play a critical role in overseeing projects to ensure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. These stakeholders have the authority to grant necessary permits and approvals, as well as conduct audits to verify project activities align with established guidelines. In this section, I will discuss the importance of engaging with regulators and government agencies throughout the project lifecycle.

Ensuring Compliance with Laws and Regulations

Projects must adhere to a wide range of laws and regulations, which may vary depending on the industry, location, and nature of the project. Failure to comply can lead to significant fines, penalties, or even the suspension of project activities. Therefore, it is crucial for project managers to identify and understand the legal and regulatory requirements that apply to their projects. Engaging with regulators and government agencies early in the project planning phase helps ensure that these requirements are fully incorporated into the project scope, design, and execution.

Granting Permits and Approvals

Obtaining necessary permits and approvals from regulators and government agencies is often a prerequisite for initiating project activities. These permits and approvals may cover aspects such as environmental impact, land use, construction standards, and public safety. By actively engaging with regulators and government agencies, project managers can expedite the permitting process, address any concerns or requirements, and avoid potential delays or roadblocks in the project timeline.

Auditing Project Activities

Regulators and government agencies may conduct audits or inspections throughout the project lifecycle to ensure ongoing compliance with laws, regulations, and permit conditions. These audits serve as a mechanism for maintaining accountability and promoting transparency in project activities. Project managers should establish open lines of communication with regulators and government agencies, promptly address any audit findings or concerns, and demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement in meeting regulatory requirements.

By fostering a collaborative relationship with these stakeholders, project managers can mitigate risks, avoid potential delays, and demonstrate accountability to both regulators and the broader community.

Community/Local Stakeholders

Community and local stakeholders have a significant impact on the success of a project, as they are directly or indirectly affected by its outcomes. Engaging with these stakeholders helps address local concerns and priorities, fosters goodwill, and can lead to valuable support and resources for the project. In this section, we will discuss the importance of involving community and local stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.

Addressing Local Concerns and Priorities

Understanding and addressing local concerns and priorities is crucial for building trust and ensuring a project’s acceptance within the community. By actively engaging with community members and local organisations, project managers can identify potential issues, such as environmental impacts, social implications, or economic effects, and develop strategies to mitigate or address them. This proactive approach demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of the local community and can help reduce resistance or opposition to the project.

Participating in Community Engagement Activities

Community engagement activities, such as town hall meetings, workshops, or public consultations, provide an opportunity for project managers to present their plans, gather feedback, and address questions or concerns from community members. These activities help foster a sense of collaboration and inclusion, enabling community stakeholders to voice their opinions and contribute to the project’s development. Regular participation in community engagement activities can also help project managers stay informed about any changes in local priorities, expectations, or concerns that may affect the project’s progress or outcomes.

Supporting the Project through Local Resources

Engaging with community and local stakeholders can lead to valuable support and resources for the project. Local businesses, organisations, or individuals may offer their expertise, services, or materials, which can contribute to the project’s efficiency and success. Additionally, hiring local workforce or partnering with local suppliers can generate positive economic impacts and enhance the project’s reputation within the community. By leveraging local resources, project managers can not only optimise project outcomes but also foster lasting relationships with community stakeholders.

By actively involving these stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, project managers can ensure that their projects are well-received, supported, and ultimately successful within the local context.

Stakeholder Communication and Engagement Strategies

Stakeholder communication and engagement are crucial components of project management. In order to secure stakeholder buy-in, it is important to implement effective communication and engagement strategies. Here are some best practices to maximise stakeholder engagement:

  1. Develop a comprehensive communication plan: A clear communication plan outlining the objectives, messaging, and timeline is essential to ensure that stakeholders are engaged throughout the project. The plan should also identify the communication channels, frequency, and target audience. Learn the difference between stakeholder engagement and a communication plan to engage like a pro.
  2. Conduct stakeholder consultations: Maintaining open lines of communication with stakeholders is key to identifying potential challenges, risks, and opportunities. Consulting with stakeholders also helps to build trust and mutual understanding.
  3. Create stakeholder biographies: Developing stakeholder biographies can help project managers understand stakeholders’ backgrounds, interests, and concerns. This information can be used to tailor communication and engagement strategies and improve stakeholder engagement.
  4. Organise stakeholder events: Hosting stakeholder events such as town hall meetings, webinars, or focus groups can provide a platform for stakeholders to voice concerns, ask questions, and provide feedback. This type of engagement can help to build trust and improve stakeholder buy-in.
  5. Prioritise stakeholders: Not all stakeholders have the same level of interest, influence, or impact on the project. Identifying and prioritising stakeholder groups can help project managers direct their communication and engagement strategies more effectively.

To maintain stakeholder engagement throughout the project, it is important to utilise a variety of communication channels. This can include email updates, newsletters, social media, in-person meetings, and conference calls. Furthermore, project managers should tailor communication methods to suit different stakeholders’ preferences. For example, some stakeholders may prefer email updates, while others may prefer in-person meetings.

Collaboration between stakeholders is also crucial in ensuring the success of a project. Establishing an inclusive engagement approach that fosters trust and mutual understanding can help to build strong relationships between stakeholders. This approach should involve ongoing dialogue, open communication, and active listening. It also helps to ensure that stakeholders feel valued and invested in the project’s success.

By developing a comprehensive communication plan, conducting stakeholder consultations, prioritising stakeholders, and utilising a variety of communication channels, project managers can increase stakeholder engagement and buy-in. Furthermore, fostering collaboration between stakeholders through an inclusive engagement approach can facilitate the achievement of project objectives.

Developing a communication plan

One of the first steps in developing an effective stakeholder communication plan is identifying its purpose. This involves understanding what the communication plan aims to achieve and defining measurable outcomes. The purpose can range from building trust and credibility to informing stakeholders of project progress and updates.

Once the purpose is established, the next step is to identify the key stakeholders. It’s important for project managers to map out the stakeholders’ communication needs and preferences, taking into consideration their level of interest, influence, and impact on the project. Understanding each stakeholder’s communication preferences can help tailor the communication plan accordingly.

After identifying the key stakeholders, it’s time to develop a messaging framework. The messaging framework should include the key messages that need to be communicated to each stakeholder group. The framework should also outline the tone, language, and format of the messages, ensuring they align with stakeholders’ preferences.

Next, project managers should identify the communication channels that will be used to reach each stakeholder group. The communication channels may vary depending on the stakeholders’ preferences and the project’s requirements. A range of channels could include email, newsletters, social media, focus groups, and town hall meetings.

Finally, it’s important to develop a timeline for the communication plan implementation. This includes setting clear deadlines and milestones for each stage of the communication plan, to ensure that stakeholders receive regular and relevant updates.

Developing a comprehensive communication plan can help ensure that stakeholders are engaged throughout the project’s lifecycle.

By following these steps and including the keywords of communication plan, key stakeholders, messaging framework, communication channels, and a timeline, project managers can create a plan that effectively addresses stakeholder engagement and communication.

Techniques for effective engagement

Effective stakeholder engagement requires using various techniques that help build positive relationships with stakeholders. These techniques can help project managers gain stakeholders’ trust and support and ensure that their contributions are considered and valued.

Active listening is one of the most important techniques for effective stakeholder engagement. It involves paying close attention to what stakeholders are saying, making eye contact, and providing feedback. By using active listening, stakeholders feel that their voices are heard and valued, which increases their engagement and willingness to collaborate.

Clear communication is another important technique that can help project managers provide clear and concise information about the project’s goals and objectives. This communication helps stakeholders understand the change or project implementation, thereby increasing buy-in and support.

Transparency is also crucial in stakeholder engagement. It means ensuring that stakeholders are aware of all relevant information related to the project, including potential risks, benefits, and challenges. When stakeholders see that project managers are transparent and forthcoming with information, they are more likely to trust and support the project.

Empathy is another important technique for effective stakeholder engagement. By empathising with stakeholders’ concerns, project managers can take their feedback into account and ensure it is incorporated in the project’s planning and implementation. This helps stakeholders feel that their contributions are valued and listened to, which again increases engagement and support.

Lastly, personal connection is a valuable technique that helps to build lasting relationships with stakeholders. This involves having one-on-one meetings, attending events, and building rapport with stakeholders. It enhances stakeholder confidence and increases the likelihood of support for the project.

By using these techniques, project managers can demonstrate their commitment to working with stakeholders effectively and building positive relationships. They help to increase stakeholder engagement, support, and ultimately, the success of the project.

Related: Create a stakeholder engagement plan that resonates to engage like a pro.

Managing and resolving conflicts

Managing and resolving conflicts during stakeholder engagement is an important aspect of effective project management. Conflicts can arise due to differing interests, priorities, and opinions among stakeholders. To manage and resolve conflicts, clear lines of communication need to be established. This environment should encourage open and respectful dialogue, where stakeholders feel heard and valued.

One way to address conflicts is by encouraging stakeholders to express their concerns and identify the underlying issues. This approach can help managers understand the stakeholders’ perspectives and create a path towards a resolution. It is crucial to maintain a neutral and objective stance during these conversations. This enables managers to avoid taking sides or displaying biases towards any specific stakeholder group.

Conflict resolution techniques such as actively listening, brainstorming solutions, and negotiation are also effective in resolving conflicts during stakeholder engagement. Active listening involves paying close attention to what stakeholders are saying and providing feedback to reflect understanding. Brainstorming solutions involve identifying potential alternatives to the current situation, which can help identify new paths to resolution. Negotiation requires both sides to compromise and work together to find common ground. Try to harmonise stakeholder interests for successful digital transformation.

Good communication is essential to managing and resolving conflicts effectively. Managers should create an environment where stakeholders feel comfortable expressing their opinions and concerns without fear of judgement. This open dialogue should address potential conflicts proactively and prevent them from escalating. Effective communication can also enable stakeholders to come to a mutual understanding of the project’s goals and objectives, which, in turn, can reduce conflicts.

By using these strategies, project managers can navigate difficult situations, build positive relationships, and ensure the successful delivery of their projects.

Monitoring and Evaluating Stakeholder Engagement

Monitoring and evaluating stakeholder engagement activities is critical to ensuring the success of the overall stakeholder engagement approach. This process allows the project team to identify areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments.

To monitor and evaluate stakeholder engagement, a plan needs to be developed based on predetermined criteria. This plan should include regular feedback from stakeholders, surveys to assess their satisfaction with the engagement process, and a review of the engagement activities at predetermined intervals.

By collecting data from stakeholders and reviewing the engagement process, the project team can ensure that the stakeholders’ concerns are being addressed and that their needs are being met. This data can also be used to identify areas of improvement and adjust tactics accordingly.

Regular review and evaluation of stakeholder engagement activities help ensure that the project is staying on track and that any issues are being addressed in a timely and effective manner. It also demonstrates to stakeholders that their input and opinions are valued, increasing their confidence in the project and its outcomes.

By developing a plan, regularly collecting feedback from stakeholders, and adjusting tactics accordingly, the project team can ensure that stakeholders are satisfied and engaged in the project. This will ultimately lead to a successful outcome and strengthen stakeholder relationships.

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