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Examples of Using the Power/Influence Matrix for Stakeholder Management

written by: Rupen Sharma, PMP • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/18/2010

About which project stakeholder to give time too? Or, are you wondering how to get the most out of your stakeholders? Let's take a look at some examples of using the Power/Influence matrix for stakeholder management.

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    Not only Project Managers, but many other types managers who have stakeholders use the Power/Influence grid to for effective stakeholder management. Similar to the Power/Interest grid and the Influence/Impact matrix, the Power/Influence matrix for stakeholder management has fours quadrants. Stakeholders are placed in each quadrant based on their level of influence and the power (authority) they possess.

    Before using the Power/Influence matrix, you need to place each stakeholder in one of the quadrants of the Power/Influence grid. If you get this step wrong, the consequences will lead to ineffective stakeholder management and communication within the project. Let's take a simplistic example. Suppose, you have a project in which there is a client who wants to be updated every week on the status of the project and you have placed this stakeholder in the Monitor quadrant. This means that while planning the communication strategy for the project, you will rarely have weekly check points with this client. Inevitably, this will lead to a frustrated client and the project is surely headed for disaster.

    This example illustrates the consequences of not placing project stakeholders in the appropriate quadrant. Let's look at another example.

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    Power/Influence Matrix for Stakeholder Management

    The communication strategy of a project depends on the Power/Influence mat ix. Let's take an example that is slightly more complicated than the previous example. Suppose, you are managing a project. The Schedule Performance Index is consistently under 0.8 and now it seems the project is probably not going to meet the deadline. After conducting a fishbone analysis of the delay, you find that one of the vendors is consistently delaying the project by not delivering as per the expectation set. To make matters worse, the activities of this vendor lie on the critical path of the project. it only makes sense to closely monitor the vendor's performance by holding weekly status meetings. This minor change in the communication plan has lead to the project coming back on track.

    What led to this problem? During stakeholder analysis, the vendor was identified as a stakeholder and placed in the Monitor quadrant. When the project execution began, meetings were scheduled as per the Monitor classification. This translated to having very few meetings with the vendor. In this example, the vendor should have been identified and placed in the Manage Closely quadrant.

    Tip: After you have created a Power/Influence, review it with people to gain expert judgment.

    The Power/Influence grid for stakeholder management need not be a static artifact. You should revisit it as the project evolves. The for this is that stakeholder that were deemed to be in one quadrant any very well end up in another when the project is under fire. For example, a vendor performing an activity that is not in the critical path, might not require close management. However, if during the course of the project, the critical path changes and the activity performed by the vendor is now in the critical path. This means that the vendor needs to be in the Manage Closely quadrant.

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