written by: Rupen Sharma, PMP
• edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom
• updated: 8/18/2010
Which stakeholder has the most influence and the ability to use that influence for project success? This a typical problem faced by many project managers. Let’s walk through an example of using the influence/Impact grid in stakeholder management.
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The Influence/Impact grid is created by gaging the influence and impact of each project stakeholder. The grid illustrates the influence and impact relative to other stakeholders. A pre-requisite to using the Influence/Impact grid in stakeholder management is that you should have evaluated the influence and impact for each project stakeholder. This can be subjective and later on in this article we'll explore techniques that can help you make it less subjective.
Gaging the influence and impact of a stakeholder is not as easy as it seems. However, you can draw a correlation between the level influence and the level of involvement a stakeholder has in the project. Similarly, impact is also subjective and can be a variable of the project scenario and the structure of the organization. By understanding the dynamics of a project, you can make the most of the Influence/Impact grid.
Now, let's take a loot at how to apply the Influence/Impact grid in stakeholder management.
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Example of a Power/Influence Matrix
Suppose you are kick starting a new project. The project involves the creation of a software application for a client. The project has the following stakeholders:
Technical Consultant: Jacob
Risk Consultant: Nasir
Lead Tester: Masakali
Project Manager at Client Site: Om
Business Dev Manager: Mora
Sponsor of Project: Clark
UX Head: Samantha
Typically, there'd be more project stakeholders to manage. Looking at the list above, one possible Influence/Impact matrix or grid is shown below.
The key to using the Influence/Impact matrix is to understand the project scenario. The other key success factor is to gage the influence and impact of each stakeholder accurately. You can do this by asking questions, such as:
Who will promote/support the project, provided that they are involved?
Who is influential in the project area and what areas do they have influence over?
Have other projects faced similar problems? If yes, which consultant did they have on board?