Identifying Project Stakeholders in the “Project Management Professional” Way

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08th Jun, 2022
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25th May, 2017
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Identifying Project Stakeholders in the “Project Management Professional” Way

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is an industry recognized qualification for the Project Managers. PMP is the market indicator of experience, knowledge and enhancement of skills, which are required to lead and direct the project. PMPs are the crucial part of every organization. PMP qualified Project Managers reach the potential to handle multiple projects and turn them into tangible outputs, minimizing the various project constraints.

At the onset of the project, it is important to identify the formal authority for the project, in the form of Project Charter. That means, we need to identify the Project Stakeholders. Identifying project stakeholders at the very beginning of the project is critical to project success. This process is carried out before the end-to-end planning stage of the project. It is a two stage process which is carried out when the stakeholders are not content. If a step intended to satisfy the stakeholders is actually not serving its purpose, we can call it anything but project success. The following steps are mandatory to keep a project running successfully-

  1. Identifying the stakeholders
  2. Inspecting the relationship of each stakeholder with the project to establish their level of interest in the project.

Anyone and everyone can be the stakeholder. It includes the people whose business interests are impacted by the project, who can dominate or steer the project, or have more expectations from the project. A stakeholder is not necessarily a sponsor or board member. He or she can also be a team member or the project manager. Every single member associated with the project can be a stakeholder.

So you can identify the stakeholders by the source of information on the Stakeholders (Input), working on that information (using the tools) and on outcome.

Input: 

  • Project Charter– It not only refers to the documents specifying the rights of the Project Manager, but also provides a list of the key Stakeholders (comprises of the Sponsor, Senior Management, or Consulting Management).
  • Procurement Documents: In addition to Charter, the Procurement Document is a great source to the third party stakeholders falling lower in hierarchy.
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors– EEF indicates how the rules and regulations, human resources and structure of the Organization etc. affect the project. One of the factors can be input, to identify the key stakeholders which gives us insight on who has the power to influence the project.
  • Organizational Process Assets– OPA is the repository which keeps information about the past project, improvement from past projects, procedures, policies and standards in an assembled manner, so as to act as a reference for future projects.

Tools and Techniques: 

  • Stakeholder Analysis– It consists of analyzing the information from the input of identifying Stakeholders, which will assist us to select the stakeholder who can influence the project positively. So we can start recording the role of an individual, their point of interest, their influence level against the list of all stakeholders.

You should examine the expectations and interests of all the listed stakeholders in details. This may help identify more stakeholders. In addition to that, we can handle all the stakeholders’ concern and make plans to address them. That is one good way we can convert negative stakeholders to positive ones. Once we have the relevant details, we can use those to classify the stakeholders depending on their interests, influence, support and power.

We can use tools like Resistor, Neutral and Advocate to categorize Stakeholders:

  • Resistor is a negative stakeholder who is not supporting the project.
  • Neutral stakeholder does not support the project. In this case, the project manager tries to convert their interests positively.
  • Advocate is a stakeholder who completely supports the project and also provides ideas to overcome the barriers if any.

Output: 

  • Stakeholder Register- All the information accumulated in stakeholder analysis helps us in creating a Stakeholder Register. A register comprises of all  the information in tabular form, whose size depends on the project size. It is the duty of the project manager to identify the potential stakeholders and note them down in the table, so as to ensure project success. Project Stakeholder Register is depicted below:
  • Stakeholder Management Strategy– Stakeholder management strategy is formulated to plan the actions for the entire course of the project management. This strategy is made to minimize the negative influences on the project.          As per PMBOK 5th Edition, the Stakeholder management strategy document includes the following:
  • Key Stakeholder’s impact on the project
  • Stakeholders’ level of participation as per stakeholder analysis
  • Groups designated to each stakeholder
  • Assessment of Impact
  • Potential strategy for gathering Support
  • Collecting source of information on the stakeholder as an input, and working on that data using tools can help us in finding the positive stakeholder to enhance the level for project success.
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