Will-Skill Matrix

PMSD Toolkit

In a nutshell: The Will-Skill Matrix is a very simple tool to reflect on whether an individual partner has the Will – desire to try something new (regardless of support); and/or the Skill – the resources, staff and/or business acumen to see the idea through. It provides a systematic means to assess which organisations should be targeted by a PMSD team, in order to ensure achievement of results. It is likely to be used at a point when you have started engaging with market actors – e.g. in a participatory market mapping process – and are moving into implementation. It was originally developed by the Springfield Centre and can be found in the M4P Operational Guide (2015).

Status: Optional Tool

Key principles: This tool strongly reflects facilitation as it involves thinking about which partners have the most capacity and incentive to continue with a change, regardless of external support.

Preconditions and preparation: This tool is best applied shortly after an initial meeting with a prospective partner. It is far more useful to have directly engaged with a market actor, to be able to understand their personality, thinking process, and level of energy. The Will-Skill Matrix can also be combined with the Influence-Relevance Matrix to help put project prioritisation in a broader perspective. For example, a key actor (highly relevant and influential) may have low Will to change; but the actor’s power/influence may make it worthwhile to invest in building motivation for them to engage with a change process.

Timeline and resources: This tool should only take 5-10 minutes to fill out for a single market actor, and can be filled out by an individual or a team.


The main output is a map which places a partner onto one of the four quadrants of the below matrix.

The table below suggests the most useful strategies for how to move forward with partners in different quadrants: