Project Stakeholder/Influencer Assessment and Communication Plan


Quick Summary
Screenshot Don't get blindsided by resource competition or missing information. Use this assessment form to identify the individuals and groups that may influence your project outcomes—stakeholders, information sources, even other PMs—assess their potential impact (for better or worse) and document your plans for how and when to communicate with them.


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What this is

A brief guideline and accompanying worksheet/plan template that allows you to:

  • Identify all those who could have an influence on your project, including stakeholders who care about the outcome of the project, and critical information sources.
  • Assess the nature of their impact and thus determine what types of information they need to receive during the project.
  • Document a plan for how, what, and how often to communicate to those influencers during the project to ensure that expectations are met, information is exchanged, and the project meets its goals.

Why it's useful

Projects do not take place in an isolated environment. Projects will experience positive and negative influences from a variety of sources, many of them specific people or groups. People can influence a project dramatically for the worse by refusing to commit resources, by not being available for reviews, or by failing to provide key specifications or specialized knowledge the project needs at the right time. However, if those influencers are identified, communicated with, and proactively involved by the team from the start, the project will feel the positive impact of their participation.

Therefore, during project initiation and planning it is important to consider the factors and individuals inside and outside the organization that can aid or impede the project through their attitude toward the project and their related action (or inaction). Then the team should start working with those people, and plan for the proper communication with those influencers during the project.


How to use it

  1. During the initiation phase of your project, create an initial Project Influencer Assessment to identify which people and groups have the potential to impact your project.
  2. Immediately contact and start working with influencers who are key to the early days of your project.
  3. Update the Influencer Assessment as project goals are solidified; often the details of scope, schedule, and resources will surface other project influencers.
  4. As the planning phase of your project progresses, start filling in the "communication" columns of the form. This will set the team up to have proper, effective communication with the influencers throughout the project.
  5. Before you exit the planning phase you should have a full-blown Project Stakeholder and Influencer Assessment and Communication Plan.
  6. Keep this compact form handy during project execution to sanity check whether the project team is keeping all influencers (including key project stakeholders) informed and properly involved in reviews.
About the Author
This guideline was contributed by the ICS Group from their practical Project Process framework, which they have been teaching to project leaders, team members and contributors since 1982.

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