PMBOK 4 to 5 – Stakeholder Management

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013 by admin

The most significant new item in PMBOK 5 is the addition of a tenth Knowledge Area, Project Stakeholder Management. The important thing to know is that stakeholder management is by no means new to PMI. But they have taken it out of the Communications Knowledge Area and put it into its own Knowledge Area. As noted previously, PMI did this “in keeping with the evolution of thinking regarding stakeholder management within projects.” So it was always important but by elevating it to its own Knowledge Area, PMI is saying it’s really important. And what they seem to be strongly emphasizing in PMBOK 5 is that the project manager must keep the stakeholders engaged throughout the project, not just informed. I’ll detail PMBOK4 first so we can compare it to PMBOK 5. (See table at end of post).

In PMBOK 4, under the Project Communications Management Knowledge Area, there were two processes that related to Stakeholders: Identify Stakeholders and Manage Stakeholder Expectations. The purpose of Identify Stakeholders was just that. Using the charter and procurement documents, one should:

-Identify Stakeholders

-Classify stakeholders by, for instance, their power and interest

-Assess how stakeholders are likely to respond

The outputs would be a stakeholder register and strategy for how you would manage their expectations.  Under Manage Stakeholder Expectations, you would, again, do just that. Using the previously created stakeholder register and strategy, you would use your interpersonal and communication skills to:

-Actively manage stakeholder expectations

-Anticipate and address concerns

-Clarify and resolve issues

So that’s PMBOK  4. Let’s see how PMBOK 5 expands upon this.

In the Fifth Edition, not only is Stakeholder Management its own Knowledge Area but there are 4 processes as opposed to two – Identify Stakeholders, Plan Stakeholder Management, Manage Stakeholder Engagement and Control Stakeholder Engagement:

Identify Stakeholders is very similar to PMBOK4 except that they’ve now removed the Stakeholder Management Strategy as an output.

Plan Stakeholder Management produces a Stakeholder Management Plan. Among other things, this plan includes desired and current engagement level of stakeholders, interrelationships between stakeholders and information to be shared with stakeholders. Curiously, the Stakeholder Management Strategy is not only not an output here but appears no longer to be an output at all. In fact, it would now appear that the stakeholder management strategy is part of the Stakeholder Management Plan and is no longer a separate document.

-This process seems to be as much about gauging and increasing the level of stakeholder engagement as it is about discussing a strategy on how to manage them. So it now advises one to create a Stakeholders Engagement Assessment Matrix to determine how engaged they are and what you’ll do to increase that engagement.

-PMI now classifies stakeholders as belonging to one of five categories: unaware, resistant, neutral, supportive or leading. So putting it together, one would be trying to move a stakeholder from, say, unaware to supportive.

Manage Stakeholder Engagement is “the process of communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs/expectations, address issues as they occur, and foster appropriate stakeholder engagement in project activities throughout the project life cycle.” So again, using your interpersonal and communication skills you would not only actively manage stakeholder expectations, you would “engage stakeholders at appropriate project stages to obtain or confirm their continued commitment to the success of the project.” So this seems like a somewhat more proactive attempt to keep stakeholders engaged. However, there don’t seem to be any specific new tools to do that.

Control Stakeholder Engagement is “the process of monitoring overall project stakeholder relationships and adjusting strategies and plans for engaging stakeholders.” Despite the title and description of the process, this very much has the hybrid feel of A) reporting to stakeholders and B) updating artifacts such as the issue log and the stakeholder register. Significantly one can also “evaluate the overall effectiveness of the stakeholder management strategy.”

Stakeholder Management



Identify Stakeholders
Identify stakeholders and create strategy
Identify Stakeholders
Identify stakeholders. No strategy created
No analog
Plan Stakeholder Management
Develop stakeholder management plan which includes strategies to engage stakeholders; create stakeholder engagement assessment matrix
Manage Stakeholder Expectations
Actively manage stakeholder expectations; Anticipate and address concerns;
Clarify and resolve issues
Manage Stakeholder Engagement
Same as PMBOK 4 with more emphasis on keeping stakeholders engaged throughout the project.
No analog
Control Stakeholder Engagement
Monitor stakeholder relationships; report to stakeholders.

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