Who is the client?

Easy enough question or so I would have thought.

It’s one of my standard questions when conducting Project Management Training.

What often comes next is ….. silence.  After a bit of encouragement the responses start to flow, many with little confidence in their answers.

Know who your client is and be certain!

Often the confusion arises from the lack of delineation of the following roles: Client, End-User and Stakeholder, with many proclaiming they are the same.  I find the following definitions of use when trying to determine who is who:

Client: The person or entity for whose need or opportunity is expected to be realised by the project, normally the one with whom the deliverable will be exchanged for the payment of completing the project

End-User: The persons who will be operate the deliverable

Stakeholder: Any party with the potential to be affected by, or to affect the project.

Note that the roles are not mutually exclusive and often a single party may be all three.

Now for some examples:

  1. Jane is renovating an investment property and has engaged you to manage the project.
  2. Your manager has tasked you to change the operating system for the entire organisation’s fleet of computers (you will not use Windows 8)
  3. You are making changes to a local government policy concerning how waste will be recycled within a council catchment

For each of the following determine who you believe to be the:

  • Client
  • End User
  • Stakeholders

Have fun…..

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