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PMI-ACP Exam Domain: Stakeholder Engagement

1. Stakeholder Engagement Section Overview

Welcome back. One of the most important topics in the ACP exam and in your role as a project manager is stakeholder management. So we're going to spend some time in this course and for your exam discussing stakeholder management and Agile projects.

After all, this is an ACP exam domain. So we're going to look at the stakeholder engagement objectives: working with stakeholders, creating that shared vision, all about collaboration, and then communicating with stakeholders throughout the project. And yes, this requires some emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, so we'll touch on that topic as well. Also tied to the idea of stakeholders, we need a project charter. And so, who writes the project charter? What does the project charter do for the Agile project manager? So we'll talk about the charter and how it came to be, as well as how it affects the stakeholders and our project communication. Also with stakeholders, we need to discuss the definition of "done."

This is a critical principle for your exam: defining what "done" means is critical for everyone. It's an excellent example of a shared vision that you and I have the same goals for the project. Whether you're the project manager and I'm the customer, or a team member, or whatever role you can think of, we all need to agree on what "done" means. really important principle that we'll knock out in this section. Now of course, with stakeholders, thisis directly tied to communications management. So we're going to have a lot of information about communications management. So we'll look at the communication requirements and analyse who needs what information, when they need it, and what the modality is. We're also going to talk about managing and facilitating meetings.

So, in any type of project, we don't want too many meetings, but especially in Agile, we want very focused and detailed planned meetings. We'll talk about some of those Agile meetings and how we go about facilitating them. As a project manager, we need some interpersonal skills, or emotional intelligence, as I mentioned earlier. So we're going to talk about how a project manager can be more effective with emotional intelligence, active listening, facilitation techniques, and negotiating with the project team as well as with customers and vendors. And so, what is that process like? Then comes conflict resolution. Conflict is natural, but we need to resolve it and keep the project moving forward. And then finally, we'll look at participatory decision-making and how that ties into emotional intelligence as well. So these are all interpersonal skills that we'll need to address. All right, great job with the progress that you've made so far. It's still a lot of information for COVID. This is a really important section, so let's dive in and knock these out. Now, I hope you're doing well and that you're working towards and becoming more confident in your goal to earn the PMI ACP exam.

2. PMI-ACP Domain Overview: Stakeholder Engagement

In this section, we're going to discuss stakeholder management and agile projects. It's all about managing and engaging the project stakeholders. This is worth 17% of your exam, so you'll have about 20 exam questions. So it's a really important topic in this section. For your exam, we have some objectives that we're going to knock out. So working with the project stakeholders means establishing a shared vision, creating collaboration, communicating with project stakeholders, and using interpersonal skills. Some engagement tasks are here. We want to engage and empower business stakeholders. We share information frequently with all of our stakeholders. We want to form working agreements, keep people involved, and show them that their involvement is not an us versus them mentality. We want them to participate, and their ideas are valuable.

Assess organisational changes to maintain stakeholder engagement. So there are changes in the organization. How does that affect your project? So we want to keep a constant eye on that and then use collaborative decision-making. This means that we make decisions as a group. It is not a command and control from the PM; it is the team stakeholders who are involved in decision-making. And I say relevant because there are some decisions in which stakeholders don't need to be involved and other decisions in which they do. Then comes conflict resolution. In this section, we'll look at conflict resolution and recognise that conflict is natural and how we respond to it or become involved with it, as the case may be. We want to establish a shared vision for project stakeholders. definition of "done" So we maintain a shared understanding of project success. So what does success look like to you and to me? If you're the PM and I'm the customer, you and I need to have the same concept of what success looks like.

We want to give transparency for better decisions, and we want to balance certainty and adaptability for better planning. And just think about that for a moment before we move forward. Certainty means this is definitely going to happen. Because you are malleable, you are able to adapt to changes. So certainty is often low in software development. We don't know what's going to happen next, but adaptability needs to be high because you can respond, adapt, and overcome. All right, let's move forward. Talk about project stakeholders. Just so we're really clear, project stakeholders are people that are impacted by the project or who can impact your project. So the real common ones are your customers, project sponsor, project leader, development team, vendors, and end users; those are all project stakeholders. Pretty common group there. We want to work to keep stakeholders engaged. So we have agile project managers who work with stakeholders. Again, it's not command and control; it's not autonomous decision-making; it's collaborative. We should consistently consider servant leadership. really important exam topic, servant leadership. We'll talk a little bit more about what's coming up.

I don't want to get ahead of myself yet. Identify project stakeholders as early as possible. Doesn't that make sense? If you skip over people and you don't involve them early in the project, they're probably not going to be very willing to work with you on the project. They're going to be upset that you've moved forward without them. It just creates a lot of unneeded conflict. Sometimes it happens, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a good thing. We'll talk about educating stakeholders about Agile, especially if you're new to Agile or your organisation is new to Agile. Maybe you aren't new, but your organisation may have people who are new to Agile and need some basic education. What's your approach here? What are you trying to do? Why is this different than how we've always done projects in the past? So we have to work with stakeholders and address those concerns and really explain the approach that we're taking, how they'll be involved, and why it's better suited for this type of project than what you may have used in the past. So it's just part of communicating and keeping people in sync with what you're trying to accomplish. Stakeholder engagement, as we know, is an important topic.

This has already been demonstrated in the course. Some ways to do stakeholder engagement are through short iterations, reviews, and demos. We have our Sprint review, we do a demonstration, and we show the work that we've done. Agile places value on the work that is done. As a result, the value is complete. Work in progress has no value. It's the work that is completed that has value. And then Agile is naturally visible for project stakeholders because we have information, radios, reviews at the end, and planning, so there's lots of involvement. So there's more synergy and, I should say, less of an us versus them mentality that sometimes creeps into predictive, where we take from stakeholders and then go do it in predictive, leaving them out. We'll send them a status report every now and then, or something. On Agile, no, they're involved in that they participate, we collaborate, and we want that, and it's a shared ownership. So that's one of the things I really enjoy about Agile; just following upon that conversation is incorporating stakeholder values. As a result, work is really based on what the stakeholders value, which is the product backlog.

It is groomed based on priorities and values, from most valuable to least valuable. And then the work is executed based on those priorities. The development team creates the highest-priority items first. They deliver value early to the business, and the stakeholders come to our planning sessions and our reviews. They don't necessarily come to our retrospectives; they come to our reviews, our Sprint reviews, where we look back on what's happened and we do a demonstration. So, the principles of stakeholder engagement are: get the right stakeholders; ensure stakeholder participation; manage stakeholder interest. What is frequently discussed there appears to be a very important subject. Show progress to project stakeholders and then openly discuss our project estimates and projections. We'll talk more about sizing and estimating in the coming weeks. But the whole theme of this section and the whole theme of this exam domain is that stakeholders need to be involved, that we involve stakeholders, and that we collaborate with stakeholders. really important exam topic.

3. Identifying Project Stakeholders

Identifying project stakeholders is the input, which includes the project charter, procurement documents, enterprise environmental factors, and organisational process assets. Three tools and techniques: stakeholder analysis, expert judgment, and meetings Outputs include the stakeholder register. Identifying stakeholders has always been an important activity in project management. In Pinbuck 5, this is a new knowledge area, so you want to pay a little extra attention to the concept of stakeholder management. Identifying stakeholders should happen as early as possible in the project, and it's the process of identifying the people, groups, and organisations that are affected by your project or that can affect your project. And then you document their information, and then you define the level of influence that the stakeholders have on your project. Have you ever thought that if it weren't for all these people, your project would go much smoother? Well, all these people are your project stakeholders, and it's up to you to manage their expectations.

Let's check it out. Just to be clear, stakeholders are the people and organisations that are involved in the project, and they can affect your project positively or negatively. Some stakeholders have the ability to influence project decisions, so it is critical to understand who the stakeholders are and what level of influence they have in the project. Identifying project stakeholders happens as early as possible in the project, but it's a continued iterative activity throughout the project. This allows you to create a stakeholder management strategy based on the stakeholders' needs and wants, their requirements, and any threats or perceived threats they may have about your project. You'll also begin to classify your stakeholders according to their primary interest in the project, what influence they have over the project, and then what their level of involvement with the project may be. Stakeholder analysis is based on your identification of all the potential stakeholders and their information. If you fail to identify stakeholders, it's going to set you up for problems later in the project.

You can just imagine the frustration that a stakeholder may feel if they were overlooked in this early process. Some key stakeholders to always consider are anyone who has a decision-making role in your project, anyone with a management role in resources in your project, and of course, the primary customer. Now, other stakeholders you may include could be vendors, your project team members, functional managers, or things along those lines. Another way to identify stakeholders is to interview them to help you identify other stakeholders. So during that interview process, you could ask, "Who else should I speak to about this project?" Or what other stakeholders should I be identifying or including in this conversation? The goal of stakeholder analysis is to understand the power, the influence, and the interest that stakeholders have over your project. And there are several different models or grids that you can create to help you plot out where stakeholders are and the amount of power, interest, or influence they have.

The first three are all very similar. You have a power interest grid, a power influence grid, or an influence impact grid. And it's just a table like you see here. And you would look for stakeholders who have, for example, a high amount of power and a high amount of interest. So you want to manage those in the upper right hand corner of the grid carefully, all the way down to those with little power and little interest. You would just monitor. Then you have others that could have a high amount of power and a low amount of interest, and you keep satisfied. And then you have those stakeholders who have a high interest but a low amount of power; you keep them informed. So that grid kind of works the same for all of these: for the power interest, the power influence, and the influence impact. A salient's model considers power, urgency, and legitimacy, as well as how these may overlap. The stakeholder register has all of the identification information about your projects' stakeholders, any assessment information, and any classification of stakeholders you've identified.

4. Managing stakeholder engagement

Manage stakeholder engagement. Management inputs for this process are a stakeholder management plan, a communications management plan change log, organizational process assets, tools, and techniques, including communication methods, interpersonal skills, and management skills. include issue log change requests, project management plan updates, project document updates, and organisational process assets updates.

As a project manager, you want to engage stakeholders in your project, but as needed, you also want to confirm and maintain stakeholder commitment. Stakeholder engagement is about managing expectations, addressing potential concerns, and then clarifying and resolving issues. There are some different methods to engage stakeholders. Communication methods: we talked about face-to-face communication versus email or phone. Interpersonal skills are needed. So we want to build trust, resolve conflict, and use active listening where we're really understanding what the stakeholder is saying and then working to overcome resistance to change where you have those stakeholders who are opposed to your project.

Now, management skills are methods that we use to facilitate consensus and influence people to do some negotiating, and then management skills are also ways that we modify organisational behaviour to accept the project outcomes. And this is a nice way of saying that the project is happening; it's a management decision to happen. And so we are going to implement this technology or this solution, or whatever the case may be, and sometimes people will be opposed to that. One of the goals of management skills is to help you model and modify that behaviour so that you can work to help others understand and accept that this is the project's outcome, and we need your help for that outcome to exist.

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