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PMP Course – Project Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area

As a part of PMP Course, Project Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area is one of the key chapters one will read as a part of the PMBOK Guide. Course participants have agreed that this is one of those sections where they were challenged on the exam. The knowledge area may seem simple while the read, but make no mistake, this knowledge area remains extremely critical.

As a part of our PMP Prep Course, this knowledge area is covered in the second session. Stakeholder management is one of those key areas that project managers look into from day 1 in the project.

Here is a quick summary for you:

Identify Stakeholders

Identify Stakeholders is one of two processes within the initiating phase, or process group as stated in the PMBOK Guide. Once the Project charter in near completion or signed, project managers must try to identify as many stakeholders as possible and as early as possible. Bear in mind, identification of stakeholders happens throughout the life cycle of the project.

Who are the people, organization unit or the entire organization that will be impacted by the outcome of the project. It is important to be thoughtful and think of all possible stakeholders for the project early. However, it is equally important that throughout the project life cycle you continue to keep an eye out for any new or changing stakeholders.

Stakeholder roles may keep changing during the course of the project, so will their engagement and thus project managers may need to watch out for these changes and make those desired changes to the stakeholder engagement plan.

How do you determine if a stakeholder is critical? Well, in addition to identifying your stakeholders you should spend time understanding each stakeholder’s unique needs and requirements for the project, as well as his/her influence on the project. This process is called a stakeholder analysis.

Develop a stakeholder register to capture various attributes associated with a stakeholder.

Plan Stakeholder Management

Now that you have everyone identified and understand their unique needs, and created your Stakeholder Register, it is time to determine HOW you will engage this group.

You need to determine key communication strategies to engage your stakeholders. For example, if you have a stakeholder with a lot of influence over the project, but is disinterested in the project, you – as the project manager – have to figure out a way to engage him with the work. You will want to plan strategies to help you understand why he is disinterested and then determine the level of communication needed to improve his engagement.

It is important to note that you will not have the same type of communication with all stakeholders, and various levels of engagement is okay. However, within this process you need to determine HOW you will most effectively meet the most amount of stakeholders needs that you can.

The question to answer in plan stakeholder management is, “How can I create good relationships with each unique stakeholder?” Some might require more one-on-one attention, while others can be communicated with in a large group setting.

Stakeholder Management: Manage Stakeholder Engagement
Manage Stakeholder Engagement boils down to managing your relationships with each stakeholder and understanding when variations occur. Throughout all pieces of this knowledge area you should be creating a trusting relationship with your stakeholders.

Through establishing these relationships – using the strategies you planned in the previous process – you should gain a better understanding of how your stakeholders engage with the work. This way when there are variations to their activity you should know how to respond.

Make sure during this process that you document what you continue to learn about your stakeholders. Again, the more you know, the better you can plan, and ultimately respond.

Stakeholder Management: Control Stakeholder Engagement
Control Stakeholder Engagement is similar to managing stakeholder engagement. The difference here, is control takes action to correct the behavior and bring it back to normal. You should understand engagement of each stakeholder in relationship to the work complete on the project. Is the engagement and work activity in alignment? If not, where are the problems occurring? How can you use the relationships you have created to respond?

Again, through good relationships you should have a strong understanding of how to bring any variations in engagement back to normal.