Getting a new project underway takes a lot of questions: what is the product, the scope, the budget. What is the target date and what are the possible risks we face? This article from PM foundations takes a look at an often overlooked element: who are the stakeholders? A stakeholder analysis can be a great way to determine what kind of requirements you'll encounter, who to talk to when things need addressing, and what success looks like. This level setting of expectations is important both at the beginning of a project and also as the project continues: Performing stakeholder analysis early on during project initiation helps the project manager have a better understanding of who is interested in the project, who is impacted by the project, and who is going to help define and deliver the project. Having a better appreciation for these elements of the project helps the project manager develop a more purposeful approach to defining the project scope, budget, and timeline. Stakeholder analysis represents an effective technique to identify and assess the importance of key people, groups of people, or entities who can significantly influence or impact the project. Stakeholder analysis is generally performed once at the beginning of the project, but may be performed on a regular basis to track changes in stakeholder importance and influence/impact over time. The article goes on to explain how to identify stakeholders, how stakeholder analysis can be used to manage the project, and how it can be a positive force in project success. The truth is, the stakeholders are the most important factor in whether projects are being done correctly or not – after all, they are the ones who are befitting or suffering from the results of any effort.