Let’s start decently boring, but rest assured this will be the only time in this blog, with a definition of stakeholder to lay some common groundwork. Any person, group, or organization with a justified interest in the course or outcome of a project can have a significant impact on the achievement of a project’s objectives. At least by now, it should strike the eye, we’re dealing with a vital success factor for every project. For this reason, it is important to put a particular focus on this area. The complexity of blockchain-related topics does not necessarily make this task easier. This is especially true for a research project like BLOCKCHERS.

At the beginning of each project, we ask ourselves who is affected by our project, exerts what influence and what the basic attitude of the individual stakeholder is towards our project (positive/neutral/negative). Let’s take a public building project, in this case, a bridge as an example. While a large number of people will massively benefit from driving shorter routes and saving time to reach their destination, residents can suffer from construction noise and pollution during construction. Besides, the construction can have long-term consequences for the environment or the habitat of certain animals. This scenario illustrates how different parties are affected by the outcome of the project and how interest groups form. In practice, this does not infrequently happen, which can lead to significant delays or even project abandonment.

A view on BLOCKCHERS

When transferring the example to BLOCKCHERS it quickly becomes clear how challenging, but at the same time exciting this project is. First of all, the EU has well-defined objectives all participating partner have to meet. Furthermore, the cooperating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to deal with a wide variety of stakeholders across industries, depending on their sector and use case they want to implement. Another challenge that further increases the number of stakeholders is the transnational nature of an EU project. The BLOCKCHERS SMEs will encounter different national legal frameworks on the subject of blockchain or even advance unregulated territory. Looking at the use cases, we are very optimistic that they will create added value for the respective target group. Nevertheless, it is possible that problems may arise, e.g., products do not perform as intended or general issues concerning blockchain and GDPR.

Engaging stakeholders

In order to maintain control over a project, it is essential to engage with all stakeholders. Therefore, all stakeholders of a project should be involved in the project communication. By doing so, you ensure that everyone feels informed and involved. It is crucial to develop a strategy for this and to implement it according to the analysis and classification of the different parties at the beginning of the project.
Furthermore, it is advisable to focus on communicating with stakeholders who have a negative attitude towards your project, especially if they have a lot of power because they can cause the project to fail. During a project life cycle, it is possible that the attitudes of stakeholders change. It is also imaginable for new stakeholders to appear on the scene who have not been included in the initial planning.

The complexity of projects in general and the dynamics of its environment lead to the conclusion that continuous stakeholder monitoring is indispensable for successful completion.