Manage Stakeholder Engagement Inputs, Tools, and Techniques You Should Know for the PMP Certification Exam

The PMP Certification Exam will expect you to be able to manage large projects. The larger your project, the more time you will spend managing stakeholders and their engagement level, and the more critical this process is to the success of your project.

Imagine a project with city and county government, the public, the department of transportation, police, and various and sundry other stakeholders. Do you think that you’re going to spend your time looking at a schedule? No. You’re going to spend your time juggling the various needs and interests of all these very influential stakeholders!

The cross-cutting skill of relationship management is particularly relevant to the Manage Stakeholder Expectations process.

To maintain satisfied stakeholders, you want to do three things:

  • Engage stakeholders. Talk to your stakeholders throughout the project to ensure a common understanding of the project scope, benefits, and time and cost estimates. You will want to ensure their continued support of the project.

  • Actively manage stakeholder expectations. You can do a lot of this by seeking stakeholder input while you’re planning the project. The project management plan and the project documents are written records that communicate all aspects of the project. These are an effective method of managing expectations.

  • Address stakeholder concerns before they escalate. You might need to have individual conversations with some stakeholders to ensure that they understand situations, such as why they can’t have what they want in the time frame they want it, or why you require their staff for specific periods of time. By addressing concerns before they become issues, you will save a lot of time and hassle.

  • Clarify and resolve issues in a timely manner. If a stakeholder has a concern that rises to the level of an issue that you need to document and address, do so as soon as is reasonable. Sometimes, this results in a change request to alter the schedule, the scope, or the resources.

  • Manage Stakeholder Engagement. Communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs/expectations, addressing issues as they occur, and fostering appropriate engagement in project activities throughout the project lifecycle.

Managing stakeholders can get very political. Make sure you know whom you are talking to and what their agenda is!

Manage Stakeholder Engagement: Inputs

During project planning, you create a stakeholder management plan that you will use and update throughout the project. Because your main method of managing expectations is communication, you will use your communication management plan as well.

It would be nice to assume that everything will go smoothly and as planned, but because this never happens on projects, you also need a change log. Many change logs are based on templates or information from past projects — in other words, organizational process assets (OPAs).

Manage Stakeholder Engagement: Tools and Techniques

Communication skills are applied when managing your stakeholders. As you manage stakeholders, pay particular attention to their needs, promoting open communication and building trust. You can build trust by employing active listening. The nature of projects is that they have changes along the way. Some stakeholders will be resistant to the changes, but you have to help them overcome their resistance. You will also use conflict resolution skills.

Some interactions with stakeholders will be in one-on-one meetings. Other times, you will be speaking to a large group and making presentations. Still others will require you to communicate via report or other written methods. All these situations are considered management skills.

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