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.
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.
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.
Depending on the project scenario, the influence and impact of each stakeholder may vary. Therefore, the Influence/Impact matrix may look like the one shown above, but may also evolve to the one shown below if the project is hit by massive cost overruns caused by poor risk mitigation strategies.
Key Points in the Influence/Impact Grid in Stakeholder Management
To understand the key points in using the Influence/Impact grid in stakeholder management, let’s look at an example.
Another example would be could be when certain decisions need to be made by using a Decision Tree. Decisions that can change the direction of a project usually involve stakeholders that are in the Keep Satisfied or Manage Closely quadrants. To read an example of such a decision, read the Using a Decision Trees Example in Project Risk Management to Calculate Expected Monetary Value article.
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?
For more questions, read the Power/Influence Grid and Power/Interest Grid articles.