According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the term project stakeholder refers to, "an individual, group, or organization, who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project" (Project Management Institute, 2013). ISO 21500 uses a similar definition.
Project stakeholders are entities that have an interest in a given project. These stakeholders may be inside or outside an organization which:
The following are examples of project stakeholders:
Rather than focusing on one subset of stakeholders, Lynda Bourne advocates prioritizing all stakeholders and focusing your attention on the "most important" at this point in time. Her view of importance encompasses an assessment of the power, proximity and urgency associated with each stakeholder. She calls her methodology a "Stakeholder Circle".
The rationale for this emphasis on decision makers is part of project stakeholder management and a key component in affecting change in an organization. John Kotter describes stakeholder analysis and stakeholder management as essential components of change management.