Lessons Learned on How to Increase Project Success using Proven Stakeholder Management Techniques


Laszlo A. Retfalvi, P.Eng. PMP PMI-RMP

Ontario, Canada


Management of medium to large complex procurement and integration projects is a difficult challenge. All projects face the difficult proposition of how to execute efficiently while maintaining the required focus on goals and milestones to ensure schedule adherence, enhanced communications, overall acceptable risk, and satisfied stakeholders.

The ability to effectively identify and manage project stakeholders significantly improves the chances of successful project execution and organizational success. The project manager’s ability to seek agreement on the goals of the project among the key project stakeholders, including the project team, management and the customer, plays a large part in the project’s success. Failure to do so may expose the project to unnecessary delays, missed opportunities, negative financial impacts, and potential damage to the organization’s reputation.

The importance of stakeholder management is further emphasized with its inclusion as an additional Knowledge Area in PMI®’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition. Event Based Stakeholder Risk Management (EBSRM) is a proven project risk management approach that incorporates powerful techniques for the management of project stakeholders. By using the EBSRM approach on projects, the benefits include not only improved stakeholder identification, alignment and management, but a much improved overall project risk management approach.

EBSRM focuses on key artifacts that greatly facilitate understanding of the entire project and the associated key issues and risks to the project. These artifacts are extremely effective for communicating important project and risk information to both the project team and to other stakeholders, such as senior and executive management, external agencies, end users, and the customer. By using this technique, there is an increased likelihood of project success through a clear understanding what needs to be accomplished, the expected challenges, and who is accountable for the effort.

The goal of this presentation is to review key lessons learned from past projects used to develop the EBSRM technique and assist the reader in understanding how to incorporate EBSRM as an aid to effectively implement and integrate stakeholder management as part of an overall project and risk management approach.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 7th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, Texas, USA in August 2013.  It is republished here with permission of the author and UT Dallas.

About the Author

laszlo a retfalviflag-canadaLaszlo A Retfalvi

Ottawa, ON, Canada

Laszlo Retfalvi is founder and general manager of Retfalvi and Associates, an Ottawa-based consulting firm.  Laszlo is also an Instructor in the Business and Management Programs Department at the University of California – Irvine Extension.  Laszlo offers more than twenty-five years of experience in the project management and engineering fields. Laszlo is past Vice-President of the Program and Risk Management Office (PRMO) at Allen Vanguard Corporation. Prior to this, Laszlo held a number of senior and executive engineering, project management, and business development positions at General Dynamics Canada, a division of General Dynamics Corporation. Previously, Laszlo was with the Irving Group of Companies and SED Systems.  Laszlo has been happily married to Lisa for over twenty-five years and has two great sons, Andrew and Alexander. Laszlo earned his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick in 1984.  He can be contacted at [email protected].  More at www.retfalviandassociates.com