Project Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area and Processes
Project stakeholder management knowledge area detail is according to PMBOK 6th edition (recently published).
Definition of Stakeholder
The term stakeholder is firstly used by R. Edward Freeman (1984) in his article “Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach”. Later on many other authors and researcher define this term in their own way but Freeman’s definition provide base for new definition. Many articles and literature on project management provides number of definitions of the term stakeholder or project stakeholder, ranging from narrow to broad. Some definitions restrict stakeholders to the entities which have an interest in the project, are actively involved in the project, are directly affected by the project, and can influence the project.
A comprehensive definition of Project Stakeholders are: individuals, groups, communities, not-for-profit organizations, institutions, and countries who have or believe they have some ‘stake’ in the project which is being undertaken, and/or in the project ‘s outcomes.
Project Stakeholder Management
Stakeholder management is relatively new field of project management. In earlier days there is less work done and research in this field, but now a day it become one of the most important field of project management. Project stakeholder management has significant contribution in successful completion of project. Project management institute (PMI) defines Project Stakeholder Management as the processes required to identify the people, groups, or organizations that could impact or be impacted by the project, to analyze stakeholder expectations and their impact on the project, and to develop appropriate management strategies for effectively engaging stakeholders in project decisions and execution. Some organizations include non-human entities as stakeholders like fauna and flora. International organizations like ‘Greenpeace’, World Forest Organization, and international tree foundation etc. shows great concerns over the projects effecting forests, trees and plants. Animals and wildlife are example of non-human entities which are stakeholders. Some projects have greater impacts on environment like coal and nuclear projects, environmental protection agencies are major and important stakeholders in these type of projects. Stakeholders may have different stake in the project, they may be supportive or adversarial, for or against the project. Stakeholders have different degree of extent of influence in the project. There are numerous examples in the world where projects prematurely terminated due to stakeholder’s negative influence. Stakeholders behavior may vary over the lifecycle of the project, today supportive stakeholder may become adversarial in later stage of the project and vice versa.
Project Stakeholder Management Processes:
PMI defines four processes of project stakeholder management which are identify stakeholders, plan stakeholder engagement, monitor stakeholder engagement, and manage stakeholder engagement. These four processes support the work of the project team to identify stakeholders defining their engagement strategies, monitoring stakeholder engagement and strategies to manage stakeholder’s expectations. These processes also asses the degree of impact of stakeholders over project or degree of impact of project over stakeholders. Project manager may adopt reactive or preventative strategy to manage and engage actual and potential stakeholders. These processes help project manager to better deal with stakeholders. Following figure shows the project stakeholder management processes:
Here is the detail of every process of project stakeholder management
1–Identify Stakeholders: This process involves identification of project stakeholders regularly, analyzing and documenting related information like stakeholder’s interests, degree of involvement, stakeholder’s interdependencies, degree of influence, and potential impact on project success. Proper identification of all stakeholders is mandatory for successful completion of the projects. Stakeholders are diverse in nature and may spread all over the world in case of mega projects. Project manager should use best optimal tools and techniques for accurate stakeholder’s identification. PMI suggested following tools and techniques for stakeholder’s identification; Expert judgment, Data gathering, Data analysis, Data representation, and Meetings etc. Many other stakeholder identification tools are used like brainstorming, case studies, surveying, documentation, project managers & teams, consultants, and media.
2-Plan Stakeholder Engagement: Stakeholder engagement plan include the process of developing approaches to involve project stakeholders based on their requirements, expectation, interests, and potential impact on the project. The plan should be comprehensive and cover each and every stakeholder. Two major approaches are used for stakeholder engagement which are reactive and preventative. In reactive strategy project manager acts when the need arises to engage stakeholders while in preventative strategy project manager set stakeholder engagement plan prior to start work on project. Both strategies have their pros and cons. Their no formula for best fit for all. Project manager should use best optimal tools and techniques for accurate stakeholder’s engagement plan. PMI suggested following tools and techniques to plan stakeholder engagement; Expert judgment, Data gathering, Data analysis, Decision making, Data representation, and Meetings etc.
3-Manage Stakeholder Engagement: Management of stakeholder engagement process includes communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and expectations, address issues, and foster appropriate stakeholder engagement involvement. After identification of stakeholders, project manager should classify them according to their interest, influence, power and behavior. Stakeholder salience model has three attributes; power, legitimacy and urgency. Urgency means how urgent a stakeholder need to communicate. Communication with stakeholders is essential for successful completion of the project. Project stakeholders may react negatively in case of any delay in the communication. Stakeholders may have some issues, concerns and apprehensions over the project, project manager should communicate immediately and address their concerns. Because with key stakeholder’s satisfaction, project life in in danger. Project manager should use best optimal tools and techniques to manage stakeholder engagement. PMI suggested following tools and techniques used to manage stakeholder engagement; Expert judgment, Communication skills, Interpersonal and team skills, Ground rules, and Meetings etc.
4-Monitor Stakeholder Engagement: This process includes monitoring of project stakeholder relationships and tailoring strategies for engaging stakeholders through the modification of engagement strategies and plans. Monitoring of stakeholder’s engagement is extremely important because stakeholder behavior with the project may change over the lifecycle of project. Today’s supportive stakeholders may become adversarial and vice versa. Project manager should keep an eye on the stakeholders. Key stakeholders may have power to influence the project negatively and to terminate the project. If a strategy of stakeholder doesn’t work properly then there is need to change the strategy and engagement plan. Project manager should use best optimal tools and techniques for accurate monitoring of stakeholder’s engagement. PMI suggested following tools and techniques used to monitor stakeholder engagement; Data analysis, Decision making, Data representation, Communication skills, Interpersonal and team skills, and Meetings etc.
Selection of best optimal tools and techniques for project stakeholder management processes is one of the important task of the project manager because a single tool cannot work for all type of projects. Every project has own context, complexity and behavior. Project manager may use the combination of tools depending upon the needs. There numerous soft wares of stakeholder’s management like ‘stakeholder circle’, Stakeholder Work Sheet, and Stakeholder on a Page etc. these soft wares are used worldwide to effectively manage and coordinate with stakeholders. These soft wares are user friendly and provide great support to project manager.
There are number of changes in the latest edition i.e. 6th edition (published in OCT, 2017) as compare to 5th edition. For comparison between PMBOK 5th and PMBOK 6th edition DOWNLOAD detail list of changes in latest edition. You may DOWNLOAD this article in PDF format.