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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

Project Management Basics – Chapter 12 – Training Stakeholders

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Henry Ford

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” John F. Kennedy

The Project Management Institute® (PMI®) has changed the Exam Content Outline for the PMP® Exam. One of the biggest changes (aside from an increased focus on Agile) is the dramatically increased emphasis on the softer skills of project management. Relationship management, team development, leadership skills and stakeholder engagement have moved to the forefront of the values based curriculum.

Did the pendulum swing too far in that direction? Time will tell. I see the PMBOK® is a user guide for someone who wants to understand the processes for good governance in a predictive project. The technical aspects of project management are important and should be at the forefront of any discussion about projects.

Having said that, I understand the point. Projects are delivered through people and a successful project manager should have excellent interpersonal skills.

One interesting topic is the need to properly “train” stakeholders at all levels of the organization. My greatest failure as a project manager was caused by not educating a key stakeholder! Let me share that story.

I was responsible for the delivery of a large international facing portfolio of projects. The work was legislatively mandated and required coordination with jurisdictions around the world. This was exciting work and several projects in the portfolio involved innovative technical solutions that literally changed the face of how jurisdictions securely exchange data in this space.

My boss was a brilliant attorney and his mastery of this particular section of the law was widely recognized. It was an honor to work with him.

While most most of the technical issues were discussed in working groups at the Organization for Economic Co-operative Development (OECD), several of my colleagues agreed that an offsite session would be a better approach to gathering requirements. One jurisdiction agreed to host the meeting and key stakeholders committed that they would not leave until we had an agreed upon set of requirements.

Three weeks before the meeting, my boss told me he wanted to cancel it. I was stunned! I asked him why and he told me that “A colleague told him they weren’t ready to work on requirements.” I told him that his colleague wasn’t equipped to know if they were ready! He was an attorney and knew nothing about his organization’s technology capabilities. Furthermore, I was in almost daily contact with my peer in that jurisdiction and they were ready for the requirements elicitation. Finally, I told him that if we didn’t hold this session that we would put the project schedule at risk.

I was unable to sway his opinion and the meeting was cancelled.

After some introspection, I realized that I had failed him. Because he was so smart, I assumed he understood basic project management principles. He didn't. I also assumed that since I was the project management expert that he would defer to my judgement in this space. He didn't. Not long after that I scheduled a meeting with him and explained project management principles and practices.

After that he understood why I was so insistent on having the meeting and why it had been a mistake to cancel it. I had failed to properly educate a key stakeholder about project management basics, and that caused him to make a bad decision.

This was my failure, not his.

I learned from that experience and have held project management training sessions with key stakeholders on every significant project since then. That same concept is reflected in the new PMI course materials.


William Butler Yeats wrote a poem in 1919 called “The Second Coming”, and the poem’s phrase “the center cannot hold” has been widely used. The poem is a chilling look at order being overwhelmed and the descent into chaos. Every time I observe organizations fail to deliver routine processes, I think of the poem. The center is not holding. The poem contains a much better quote that seems to capture the majority of what I see in the press: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Yep.


PMO Global Institute
PMO Global Institute
Aug 06, 2023

Hello fellow learners,

Welcome to Chapter 12 of our exploration into project management basics! In this chapter, we'll delve into the critical topic of "Training Stakeholders." Effective stakeholder engagement is essential for project success, and providing proper training to stakeholders plays a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth project journey. Let's dive in:

Understanding Stakeholder Training:

Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have a vested interest in the project's outcome. They can include project sponsors, team members, clients, end-users, and more. Properly training stakeholders involves equipping them with the knowledge, information, and skills necessary to fulfill their roles effectively and contribute positively to the project.

Key Aspects of Stakeholder Training:

  1. Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of…


PM Aspire
PM Aspire
Jul 11, 2023

Hello everyone,

Welcome to Chapter 12 of our project management basics series! Today, we will discuss the importance of training stakeholders and how it contributes to project success.

Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have a vested interest in the project and can influence its outcomes. Ensuring that stakeholders are well-informed and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills is vital for effective project implementation. Here are some key points to consider when it comes to training stakeholders:

  1. Identify Training Needs: The first step is to identify the specific training needs of different stakeholder groups. This could include project team members, end-users, executives, or any other individuals involved in the project. Assess their existing knowledge, skills, and any gaps that…


PMO Global Institute
PMO Global Institute
Jul 08, 2023

Greetings, project management enthusiasts!

Today, I'd like to delve into Chapter 12 of the project management basics series, which focuses on the crucial aspect of training stakeholders. Training stakeholders in project management fundamentals plays a pivotal role in project success, fostering understanding, collaboration, and alignment throughout the project lifecycle.

Here are some key points to consider when training stakeholders:

  1. Establishing a Common Language: Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful project management. When training stakeholders, it's essential to establish a common language and understanding of project management terminology, processes, and methodologies. This ensures that everyone involved speaks the same language, facilitating clear and concise communication.

  2. Sharing Project Objectives and Benefits: Training sessions should emphasize the project's objectives, benefits, and anticipated…


PM Aspire
PM Aspire
Jun 26, 2023

Welcome to Chapter 12 of our Project Management Basics series! In this chapter, we will delve into the importance of training stakeholders and equipping them with project management skills. Effective stakeholder training plays a vital role in project success and ensures a shared understanding of project objectives, processes, and responsibilities.

  1. Identifying Stakeholder Training Needs: Before initiating stakeholder training, it is crucial to identify the specific training needs of each stakeholder group. Assess their current knowledge and skill levels, along with their roles and responsibilities within the project. This analysis will help tailor the training programs to address any skill gaps and enhance stakeholder capabilities.

  2. Defining Training Objectives: Clearly define the objectives of stakeholder training. These objectives should align with the…

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