What you need to know about Identifying Stakeholders for the PMP exam!!!!

Even though this is one of the simplest processes in the PMBOK, students have the toughest time with answering questions related to this topic.

It’s a kind of basic boring fact that is easy to overlook when you’re studying, but don’t worry, today’s post is going to clear it up for you so you can crush it on the PMP exam when you see it!!

So what must you know?

You must know that: Identifying stakeholders for a project takes place during the initiating process group as it will be an important input going into the planning process group.

It is a two-step process and each process has its own purpose.

What are the two steps?

First: Identify who the individual stakeholder(s) will be and document in a Stakeholder Register.


Second:  Analyze the project’s relationship with each stakeholder

Let’s talk about the first one:

1.) Who is a stakeholder?

A “stakeholder” is any person or organization that is actively involved in a project, or whose interests may be affected positively or negatively by execution of a project. Stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization.

What are some examples of stakeholders?

  • Group utilizing the service or product
  • Competitors
  • Employees
  • Shareholders
  • Investors
  • Suppliers

Let’s now look at the second step:

2.)   Now that we have our stakeholder list you have to analyze their relationship to the project’s to determine the best communication strategy for a successful project. So, the question is how do we analyze and what tool can we use. Analyzing means asking the following three questions:

  1. Level of engagement in the project
  2. Interest in the project
  3. Level of influence in the project

Let’s take a moment to see what these questions mean.

What does it mean when we say the level of engagement? 

Well, we have to determine how they feel about the new project. Is it something they are unaware of, do they not want it so will be resistant, will they just be neutral and not care either way, do they actually love the project and be supportive and lastly will they help you make it successful by leading it with you.

Then we can ask about their interests in the project. 

So, remember we have to keep in mind that identifying interests is done with the stakeholder’s perspective in mind, not ours. Interest should be related to the appropriate project phase, interests’ changes as the project move from beginning to the ending phases.  Questions like what are your expectations of this project?  How does the successful completion of the project benefit you? Are there any stakeholders that may conflict with your interest?

Last but not least we determine their influence level.

Meaning what power do they have for decisions on the project. Can they hinder a task or change a requirement. Determine the funding limit or impose any schedule constraints.

Now that we have completed our stakeholder analysis the findings should be documented in a stakeholder engagement assessment matrix.  The matrix is an analytical technique used by PMI that lays out information for your stakeholders.

Both of these processes together will determine the best communication strategy to use when engaging them throughout the project life cycle.  Remember when communicating with your stakeholders you need to match their expectations, show you understand their interest, enable effective negotiations, prevent or mitigate problems and take it into account when you plan and execute the project.  All these factors will contribute to correct requirements gathering and defining scope to ensure customer satisfaction and the correct product or service is being provided.

What happens if you don’t identify stakeholders properly?

You end up with a project that doesn’t have well-defined requirements and defined scope leading to scope creep, customer dissatisfaction which equals a failed project.

I hope this reinforced your understanding of identifying stakeholders and the importance of a successful project.

Good luck! Be on the lookout for more great posts taking you a step closer to the finishing line.

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