Meeting the Project Stakeholders Pmbok Section

Stakeholders are those fine folks and organizations who are actively involved in the project or who will be affected by its outcome—in other words, people, groups, busi-

nesses, customers, and communities that have a vested interest in the project. If you're a project manager who is working with a senior project manager, or if you are assisting the project manager, you are a stakeholder as well.

Stakeholders may like, love, or hate your project. Consider an organization that is hosting a project to move all their workers to a common word-processing application. Everyone within this organization must now use the same word-processing application. Your job, as the project manager, is to see that it happens.

Now, within your project, you've got stakeholders that like the project; they're in favor of the project deliverable. Other stakeholders love the project—they cannot wait for all of the organization to use the same application for word processing. These people are considered positive stakeholders. And, sigh, there are those stakeholders who hate your project and want to do everything they can to make your project fail. Yep, these people are negative stakeholders.

Stakeholders, especially negative stakeholders, may try to influence the project itself. This can be attempted in many ways:

• Political capital leveraged to change the project deliverable

• Change requests to alter the project deliverable

• Scope addendums to add to the project deliverable

• Sabotage, through physical acts or rumors, gossip, and negative influence

EXAM TIP Any stakeholder that is opposed to, threatened by, or wants your project to just go away is a negative stakeholder.

Your role as a project manager is to identify, align, and ascertain stakeholders and their expectations of the project. You may lead the project or work with another project manager to confirm the alignment of stakeholder priorities within the project. Stakeholder identification is not always as clear-cut as in the preceding example. Because stakeholders are identified as people who are affected by the outcome of your project, external customers may be stakeholders in your project, too.

Consider a company that is implementing a frequent customer discount project. External customers will use a card that tracks their purchases and gives them discounts on certain items they may buy. Is the customer in this instance a stakeholder? What if the customer doesn't want to use the card? Is she still a stakeholder?

Stakeholders can go by many different names: internal and external customers, project owners, financiers, contractors, family members, government regulatory agencies, communities, cities, citizens, and more. The classification of stakeholders into categories is not as important as realizing and understanding stakeholders' concerns and expectations. The identification and classification of stakeholders does allow, however, the project manager to deliver effective and timely communications to the appropriate stakeholders.

NOTE In high-profile projects, where stakeholders will be in conflict over the project purpose, deliverables, cost, and schedule, the project manager may want to use the Delphi technique to gain anonymous consensus among stakeholders. The Delphi technique allows stakeholders to offer opinions and input without fear of retribution from management.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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