PMBOK #5 Boosts Stakeholder Management

PMI_PMBOK5The publication of the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition is a major boost for stakeholder management. The introduction of Chapter 13, Project Stakeholder Management as a distinct knowledge area raises the importance of engaging stakeholders to the same level as all other PM ‘knowledge areas’. Ideally the new section would have been placed next to the closely aligned process of communication management but this is not to be – the PMBOK is expanded by adding new chapters to the end.

The four processes follow the familiar PMBOK pattern with a few differences. They are:

  • 13.1 Identify Stakeholders – identifying everyone affected by the work or its outcomes.
  • 13.2 Plan Stakeholder Management – deciding how you will engage with the stakeholders.
  • 13.3 Manage Stakeholder Engagement – communicating with stakeholders and fostering appropriate stakeholder engagement
  • 13.4 Control Stakeholder Engagement – monitoring the overall relationships and adjusting your strategies and plans as needed.

The 5 stages of our Stakeholder Circle’ methodology are embedded within these processes; the key steps in theStakeholder Circle’ are:

  1. Identify – the primary purpose of 13.1 with very similar objectives.
  2. Prioritize – This is mentioned in 13.1 (Identification) without any real assistance on an effective approach to this important task. The PMBOK recognises most projects are going to be resource constrained and should focus its engagement activities on the important stakeholders but that’s all – options to calculate a meaningful prioritisation is missing. See more on prioritisation.
  3. Visualize – This is also included in 13.1 (Identification) based on a simple 2 x 2 matrix. A number of options are listed including power/interest, power/influence, and the influence/impact grids. The Salience model developed by Mitchell, Agle, and Wood 1997 is also mentioned without attribution. In reality to properly understand your stakeholders you need to understand significantly more than two simple aspects of a relationship. The Stakeholder Circle’ diagram was adapted from the Salience model to help teams really appreciate who matters and why. This will be the subject of another post in a couple of day’s time.
  4. Engage – the primary purpose of 13.2 (Plan engagement) and 13.3 (Implementing the communication plan). Separating planning and implementation is a good idea. The planning process uses an engagement matrix similar to the tool built into the Stakeholder Circle’ – However, whilst the PMBOK looks at the attitude of each stakeholder (both current and desired) it omits the key consideration of how receptive the stakeholder is likely to be to project communication. If the stakeholder does not want to communicate with you the challenge of changing his/her attitude is a whole lot harder and the missing priority level lets you know how important this is.
  5. Monitor and Review – whilst this is the focus of 13.4, the assumption of review and adjustment is a statusing process. Our experience suggests the dynamic nature of a stakeholder community requires the whole cycle starting with the identification of new and changed stakeholders to be repeated at regular intervals of 3 or 6 months (or at major phase changes).


As mentioned at the beginning, the introduction of a separate knowledge area for stakeholder management is a huge advance and should contribute to improving the successful delivery of projects – PMI are to be congratulated on taking this step!

However, unlike most other areas of the PMBOK, the processes outlined in this 5th Edition are likely to be less than adequate for major projects. As soon as there are more than 20 or 30 stakeholders to assess and manage, the tools described in this version will be shown to be inadequate and more sophisticated methodologies will be needed.

Stocks of the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition are now in the shops:

For other posts on the new PMBOK 5th Edition see:

9 responses to “PMBOK #5 Boosts Stakeholder Management

  1. Reblogged this on AthensKConsulting and commented:
    finally, we formally recognize what we always knew…. IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE!!

  2. One more process should be under the closing head. 13.5 Stakeholder sign off. A document which officially put all the stakeholders off the project. Inputs will be : satisfaction, completion, rating,comments. T&T getting document signed and survey forms. Output a project signed off document.

    • Stakeholders as a group do not and never have ‘approved’ or ‘signed off’ on anything – specific people such as the Sponsor and the Client or Customer have specific approval roles and these are dealt with in the appropriate places.

      • Yes exactly, when a knowledge area is being added than these stake holders activities and all affairs related to it like in case of sponsor or client should now go under it. stake holders agreement for formal closure. Client feedback, sponsor project rating etc.

      • This is a crazy proposition – EVERYTHING in project management is about people.
        Some stakeholders have involvement in initiation,
        Some stakeholders have involvement in planning,
        Some stakeholders have involvement in the executing and controlling the work,
        Some stakeholders have involvement in accepting the finished products,
        Other stakeholders have involvement in oversighting the work of the project manager.
        And some stakeholders have no involvement in the work but are important for other reasons.

        There is not a single process in the PMBOK that does not involve people, ie, stakeholders. The purpose of Chapter 13 is to bring the management of the diverse group of people who make up the ‘stakeholder community’ into one place – not to replace the rest of the PMBOK.
        For more on stakeholder management see:

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