As stakeholders can be measured on a power-interest grid, they can also be assessed on another dimension. This could be power-influence grid. Just to have the definitions clear. Power is the measure of the amount of authority a particular stakeholder is able to exercise. Influence measures their active involvement on the project.
Power/ Influence Grid
The classification map is a four quadrant one. Four regions are marked on two dimensions. One of the dimensions is power, drawn in two segment low and high. The second dimension is the measure of influence, again arranged in low and high regions.
Thus you have four regions that can be called high power-low influence, high power-high influence, low power-high influence and low power-low influence. Correspondingly communication tasks you need to take on for yourself are to manage the top group, or the high power-high influence group, very closely indeed. Their communication needs should be fulfilled at all costs and on highest priority. This group of stakeholders has the most involvement as also the most power to make things happen. The next group that of high power yet low interest, need to be kept satisfied with just the right amount of information. You need to regulate the information flowing to this class of stakeholder as high quality but necessary information. You cannot afford them to lose interest in your project. It should be just enough to keep your project on their radar map.
The class that has high influence or involvement in your projects yet not too high in the hierarchy to wield heavy authority also is an important class. You need to keep this group really satisfied as when the need comes they can help you out with their involvement. You need to spend minimal effort to keep the fourth group monitored. This is the class of stakeholders who have low authority and low involvement too. Only principle involved here is not to antagonize them.
Take the list of stakeholders and map them on this matrix as illustrated in the picture above. Though qualitative the way the stakeholders fall on this grid will clearly tell you what to do about them. These dimensions have to be qualitative and relative. You may need to seek help in the form of expert judgments to classify some stakeholders. But, do remember, the assessments could well be very subjective. Make allowance for that by taking multiple opinions about a person, if necessary.
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