Once upon a time the PMP exam contained less knowledge areas! During that time PMI, the governing body of the PMP exam, considered Communication Management and Stakeholder Management to be the same knowledge area. Over the years our expert PMP elders started to realize there was a lot more to “people” management than they first believed.
In 2013, as PMI rolled out the PMBOK 5th edition, they unveiled the Stakeholder Management knowledge area. Thus, with this edition we PMPs received our 47 guiding processes to complete in “most projects, most of the time,” for successful project management. And we all lived happily ever after.
So why did I just tell you this wonderful fairy tale? Ultimately, to explain that “people” management is a very important part of project management. At one time you might have even said it was the unrated part of project management.
Additionally, because Communication Management and Stakeholder Management were once the same knowledge area, you will see a lot of overlap in these areas. You cannot build relationships with stakeholders without communication.
For the exam you will need to understand the four processes (of the 47) that fall within Stakeholder Management, as well the important outputs of these processes. We will spend some time reviewing the content, and then go over some sample Stakeholder Management: PMP Questions to Study.
Stakeholder Management: Identify Stakeholders
As you may have noticed, Identify Stakeholders is one of only two processes within the initiating phase, or process group, of the project. What you should note here is it is important that even before the project officially begins – remember it is not a project until there is a signed charter – the project team should be identifying stakeholders.
Who are the people that will be involved in the project work? Who needs to know about the project activities? Within the initiating process group you will begin to define these individuals. It is important to be thoughtful and think of all possible stakeholders for the project. However, it is equally important that throughout the project life cycle you continue to keep an eye out for any new or changing stakeholders.
Yes, I just said that you have to be willing to change stakeholders throughout the project. I know, I keep telling you that it is important to plan, but consider the typical working environment, people get promoted or leave the company, which means you will need to adapt the stakeholder list throughout the project. With a promotion a person’s influence might change, ultimately making them a more “critical” stakeholder.
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.
Okay, but how do you remember each stakeholder and their unique needs and influence? Well, the Stakeholder Register of course. This register – remember as a project manager you write down all the important information as part of your overall project management plan – is an output of the identify stakeholders process.
Stakeholder Management: 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.
Stakeholder Management: PMP Questions to Study
Now that we have a brief overview of the content, let’s practice some sample questions.
1. Which of the following are items to consider during stakeholder management:
a. Over deliver on expectations
b. Communicate the same to every stakeholder
c. Identify the needs of all stakeholders
d. Avoid challenging stakeholders
2. An important input to planning stakeholder management is:
a. The risk management plan
b. The stakeholder register
c. The stakeholder analysis
d. The WBS
3. The most important part of stakeholder management is:
a. Ensuring all stakeholders are communicated with the same
b. Good relationships are established with all stakeholders
c. Challenging stakeholders are avoided and added to the risk register
d. Changes are made to the project schedule
4. A stakeholders ability to affect the project is known as?
5. The project manager is responsible for all of the following during stakeholder management except:
b. Hand selecting the stakeholders
c. Determining stakeholders unique requirements
d. Establishing relationships with stakeholders
Stakeholder Management: PMP Answers
1. C. It is important in any project to identify all stakeholders. Then you need to understand each stakeholder’s unique needs and expectations, so you can meet them.
2. B. The stakeholder register is an input to plan stakeholder management. Did the stakeholder analysis confuse you? Remember the analysis is part of the register, so this makes the complete register the best answer.
3. B. Relationships, relationships, relationships. The most critical part of stakeholder management is relationships.
4. D. Influence. Remember influence is an important attribute of each stakeholder. The more they can influence the project the more important they become.
5. B. The project manager is not the only person who determines stakeholders. The sponsor as well as key stakeholders have say over this.
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