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PMP Rapid Review: Initiating the Project

Task 1.3: Perform key stakeholder analysis using brainstorming, interviewing, and other data-gathering techniques, in order to ensure expectation alignment and gain support for the project.

To gain support for the project, a key means of discovering and documenting exactly what stakeholder expectations are is to use various data-gathering techniques. A project manager should always take responsibility for communicating with stakeholders. There are various ways to ensure that stakeholder expectations are aligned with the project goals and deliverables and that stakeholders support the project.

Exam need to know...

  • Stakeholders

    For example: What is any person or organization that can be affected by the project called?

  • Stakeholder analysis

    For example: How does a project manager identify the stakeholders that must be monitored the most?

  • Data-gathering techniques

    For example: How is information about stakeholders gathered?

  • Stakeholder register

    For example: How does a project manager record individual stakeholder interests in the project?

Stakeholders

A stakeholder is defined as any person, group, or organization that can affect or be affected by the project. The primary goal that the project manager has in identifying stakeholders is to ensure their support for the project (or that they do not oppose the project). It is important to fully understand the stakeholder expectations and requirements of the project so they can be met, managed, or influenced.

True or false? Stakeholders on a project include only the project manager, project sponsor, customer, and project team members.

Answer: False. These are all excellent examples of some stakeholders that you might have on your project, but the definition of “stakeholders” is much broader than those people directly involved in the project. It includes any person, group, or organization that can affect or be affected by the project or any of its deliverables.

Stakeholder analysis

After stakeholders have been identified, it is important to analyze their expectations, requirements, and the priority with which they should be looked after. This process of stakeholder analysis includes various techniques for gathering and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information about the stakeholders. The first step of stakeholder analysis is to identify all potential project stakeholders and relevant information about them. The second step is to analyze the potential impact, influence, or support that each stakeholder has or could generate for the project, and then use this information to classify and prioritize stakeholders to ensure an efficient use of stakeholder expectation management tasks and activities.

Note that although a lot of stakeholder analysis is done at the beginning of the project, new stakeholders can appear at any point during the project lifecycle, and stakeholder analysis has to be updated to reflect this.

True or false? The project manager should take ultimate responsibility for the identification and analysis of stakeholders.

Answer: True. The project manager takes responsibility for the identification and analysis of stakeholders, but they use the skills and experience of project team members and SMEs with experience in this particular area to do the work.

The result of the stakeholder analysis is a stakeholder register that contains all relevant information about the stakeholders and a prioritized list of stakeholders. Stakeholders can then be represented graphically on a classification model stakeholder analysis such as a grid that shows power/interest, power/influence, or influence/impact. Figure 1-3 shows an example of a power and interest grid that classifies how stakeholders should be managed.

Figure 1-3

Figure 1-3 A grid showing the classification of stakeholders according to the level of power and interest they have in the project

An additional stakeholder classification model is a salience model, which describes stakeholders based on their level of power, urgency, and legitimacy. Figure 1-4 shows an example of a salience model.

Figure 1-4

Figure 1-4 A diagram showing the intersection and overlap of stakeholder power, urgency, and legitimacy

Data-gathering techniques

In order to understand what stakeholder expectations are, a project manager uses a variety of data-gathering techniques. Each of these data-gathering techniques is focused on soliciting information from or about identified stakeholders. Data-gathering techniques can include any of the following:

  • Brainstorming Gathering experts with particular information into a meeting and requesting that they began to think laterally in order to come up with as many different ideas as possible. This is an effective technique to identify a wide range of potential stakeholders.
  • Interviewing This technique involves interviewing stakeholders directly and in formal or informal settings to determine their expectations of the project. It can also be used to gather information about stakeholders from people with experience in dealing with particular stakeholders.
  • Focus groups A technique that can facilitate specific information about stakeholder expectations and how they can be managed and influenced.
  • Facilitated workshops A technique that uses focused workshop sessions to bring together key stakeholders to more formally define the requirements and expectations of the project.
  • Questionnaires and surveys A technique that can be used to solicit information from stakeholders who might not want to give it in person or are geographically isolated from the project.
  • Observations A technique that can be used by the project manager and SMEs to observe and document stakeholders’ expectations of the project.

True or false? The best method of gathering data about stakeholders is to ask the stakeholders directly.

Answer: True. Although there are many ways to gather information about stakeholder expectations, the best method is to communicate directly with them.

Stakeholder register

As a result of carrying out stakeholder identification and analysis, you develop a stakeholder register that lists all relevant information about stakeholders, including their contact details, their interest in the project, an assessment of their ability to influence or affect the project, and your particular strategies for managing and influencing their expectations. The stakeholder register should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis because stakeholders and their expectations can change throughout the lifecycle of a project.

True or false? The stakeholder register can be used to understand stakeholder power and influence on the project.

Answer: True. The stakeholder register documents many things about individual stakeholders, including level of power, influence, impact, and interest in the project.

The stakeholder register is an important document used as a key input into tasks focused on collecting requirements, plan and quality management, planning communications management, planning risk management, identifying risks, and planning procurement management.

Can you answer these questions?

You can find the answers to these questions at the end of this chapter.

  1. What is the best definition of a stakeholder?
  2. What is the key purpose of using data-gathering techniques during stakeholder analysis?
  3. If you have gathered a group of stakeholders together in a meeting and are asking them to think creatively about potential project deliverables and ways of achieving them, what data-gathering technique are you using?
  4. What information is contained in the stakeholder register?
  5. If you have identified stakeholders on your project and classified them according to their power, legitimacy and urgency, what model are you using?

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