Influence/Impact Grid

October 6, 2009
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Mapping stakeholders on a four segment map that charts their influence and impact is a possible model to classify the stakeholder. This classification is essential to determine their information needs and how to communicate effectively to meet that need. The dimensions used are the influence, or the amount of involvement of a given stakeholder and the impact or the person’s ability to effect changes to the project’s planning and execution.

Influence/ Impact Grid

The dimensions to be used in this variation of the two dimensional model for classification uses influence and impact of a given stakeholder. The amount of influence or impact is divided into two broad categories as low and high. This then creates four categories into which a stakeholder can be classified.

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The most important group to you as the project manager is the class that has the highest involvement with your project and also has the highest impact in changing the destiny of the project; effecting changes in your plans or the execution of the project. You have to have this group involved with details of your project progress and also seek their potential impact in making the necessary mid-course corrections, if necessary. So, your priority during mapping of stakeholders would be to identify the persons falling into this class as soon as possible and get them involved into your project.

Next most important group to be identified is the group that has high level of involvement or influence yet lower level of impact. You want to keep this group satisfied and not bore them with high details of information that may be taken as clutter. The group with high impact but low influence is a group you want to keep satisfied with communications about your project. You would like to keep them on the right side and get help with their impact, if necessary.

The fourth group of low influence and low impact needs just monitoring to see if any communication needs arise. Otherwise it is actually a least effort map zone. This defines the people needing least maintenance.

When you start classifying your stakeholders place them on the grid based on the assessment of influence and impact as shown by the star icons on the image. These mappings will have to be qualitative rather than quantitative. After you have completed a mapping exercise of your own, it’ll tell you clearly which are the group of stakeholders that need your most attention.

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