Stakeholders in Microsoft Project are the different interest groups behind the scenes who make decisions about the project during its life and who therefore need different kinds of information from Microsoft Project. The Project Manager needs to satisfy the interests of all stakeholders to successively complete a project.

This article describes the main stakeholder groups and summarises the information they may need in the form of tables or reports. The four main stakeholders are the Customer, Project Manager, Project Team members, and other Managers with an involvement in the project such as a resource manager.

Stakeholder 1: The Customer

The customer is the key stakeholder for whom the project is being carried out. The customer is likely to need overall project summaries, project costing and project progress reports. Customers may also often receive regular interim progress reports and an end of project report. Depending on size and complexity of the project, customer data can be generated from the Gantt Chart showing all project tasks or summary tasks.

Gantt Charts can be filtered to show particular tasks or summary tasks with or without resources and covering a particular timescale. Alternatively the calendar view can be used to show a simpler clearer view of tasks or summary tasks only without the linking or resources details.

Customers can also be sent printouts from a number of the in-built Project reports, for example the Project Summary Report, or Costing summary report, or progress summary report, all of which focus on the project's overall picture. For a project in progress, the Project Tracking report and Tracking table printouts both show actual task start, completion and variances against plan.

Stakeholder 2: The Project Manager

The Project Manager stakeholder needs data to assist in all stages of the project, from planning, managing resources, costing, project tracking and producing output reports for other stakeholders. The Project Manager will therefore be familiar with all the in-built project tables for data analysis and all the reports for printed outputs. And for troubleshooting or error chasing each table and each report can be customised by filtering and by adding or deleting data fields.

The Project Manager will also use the more specialised tables or reports to solve particular problems, for example covering Task Usage, Resource Usage or Resource Allocation.

Stakeholder(s) 3: Project Team Members

The Project Team Member is one of the stakeholders involved in completing work in a project. For example this could be in carrying out one or more tasks or in managing the project budget or having a specific project role such as managing variances. He or she will therefore need data to show for example assigned tasks, project phases, costs and variances. They may also have access to read only copies of the main project file to allow access to views, tables and reports, or may be sent filtered views of the Gantt Chart in a read only format, or data exported to applications such as Excel or Outlook.

Stakeholder 4: Other Managers

Other Managers may be involved in providing or managing project resources and may include subcontractors or external service providers. Read only extracts from the full project file may be provided to show, for example, the Gantt Chart filtered to show tasks carried out by a particular resource. Or such data may be exported to Excel or Outlook.

So as well as completing the project, the Project Manager needs to satisfy all the stakeholders interests in the project. And much of this can be accomplished by timely production of data communications or reports. To learn more about project management using Microsoft project you might consider attending a training course to take your skills further.