6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 13.2 Plan Stakeholder Management: Tools and Techniques


As with other planning processes, there are “generic” tools and techniques that are used in practically all knowledge areas, such as expert judgment, decision making, and meetings.   You talk to the people who know about your knowledge area, you get together with your project team in meetings, and you make decisions about what goes in the management plan.

Now there are some techniques which are specific to this particular knowledge area, the most important of which is the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix, which together with the stakeholder register will be the workhorse of not just this process, but all other processes in this area.

13.2.2  Plan Stakeholder Management:  Tools and Techniques

13.2.2.1  Expert Judgment

You should consider expertise from individuals with specialized knowledge about:

  • Politics and power structures in the organization and outside the organization
  • Analytical and assessment techniques to be used for stakeholder engagement processes (especially the stakeholder engagement assessment matrix)
  • Communications means and strategies
  • Knowledge from previous projects regarding individual stakeholders and stakeholder groups that were involved in previous similar projects.

13.2.2.2.  Data Gathering

Benchmarking is a data gathering technique which compares the results of stakeholder analysis in the other tools and techniques for this process and compares them with information from other organizations.

13.2.2.3  Data Analysis

Data analysis techniques used for this process include:

  • Assumption and constraint analysis–analysis of current assumptions and constraints may be conducted in order to tailor appropriate engagement strategies.
  • Root-cause analysis–identifies underlying reasons for the current level of support of project stakeholders in order to select the appropriate strategy to improve their level of engagement.

13.2.2.4  Decision Making

Prioritization and ranking of stakeholder requirements is important, as is the ranking of the stakeholder themselves.   Those stakeholders with the most interest (those impacted by the project) and the highest influence (those who can impact the project) are often prioritized at the top of the list.

13.2.2.5  Data Representation

These are used to aid in data analysis and decision making (see the previous two paragraphs).

  • Mind mapping–visually organizes information about stakeholders, their relationship to the project, to each other, and to the organization doing the project.
  • Stakeholder engagement assessment matrix.   This supports comparison between the current engagement levels of stakeholders and the desired engagement levels required for successful project delivery.   Here is one way of classifying stakeholders:
    • Unaware–unaware of the project and potential impacts:  obviously you want to make these stakeholders aware, which means then they will turn into one of the following four classifications
    • Resistant–aware of the project, and resistant to any changes that may occur as a result of the work or outcomes of the project.  These stakeholders will be un-supportive of the work or outcomes of the project.   They might turn neutral or even supportive if you are able to address their concerns, which may involve changes to the project that mitigate the impact it will have on them and their department.
    • Neutral–aware of the project, but neither supportive nor nonsupportive, usually because it doesn’t affect them.  With these stakeholders, it is important to monitor if their position in the organization changes, because that may change their position with regards to your project.
    • Supportive–aware of the project, and supportive of the work and its outcomes.
    • Leading–aware of the project, and actively engaged in ensuring that the project is a success.   This last group is a separate one from “supportive” because the leading stakeholders can help you evangelizing to the rest of the organization.   In addition, if they are members of senior management, they will be the ones to do the heavy lifting in terms of communication with other members of senior management who are resistant to the project, mainly because they influence over those members where you as a project manager do not.   It should go without saying that you should always have at least one leading stakeholder on every project, namely, the project sponsor.

An example of the matrix is given on p. 522 of the PMBOK Guide.   Basically there is one line for every stakeholder, and the currently level of engagement (unaware, resistant, neutral, supportive, and leading) is listed as well as the desired level.

NOTE:   The stakeholder engagement assessment matrix is confidential to be used by the project team.   You can share information with the stakeholders, but not the matrix!

13.2.2.6  Meetings

As mentioned above, this is a generic tool and technique of ALL planning processes, because it is definitely an activity that the whole project team needs to be involved with because of its important for the success of the project.

With those tools and techniques, you can now produce the output of this process, namely the stakeholder management plan.  This is the subject of the next post.

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