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Stakeholder interview

Meeting involving Stakeholders and a UX designer.

When to do Stakeholder interviews:
Early on in the project when a solution needs to be chosen.

Here are the seven step strategy I use for Stakeholder interviews…

1. No guessing
Ask questions to turn my assumptions into certainties. Best way to waste time is designing on assumptions.

2. Move off solutions
Stakeholders usually just want to talk about solutions. Design is a process for solving problems. Fully understanding the problems first allows me to properly prescribe solutions.

3. List all the problems
A. Get Stakeholders to put all the issues that causes them problems on sticky notes on a wall.
B. Ask “If you could make a product that solves all the problems on this list, and nothing else, would you have a solution that exactly meets your business goals?”.
C. If their answer is “no” then go back to adding issues to the list.
D. With a completed list I can start to understand what design solutions would work best.

4. Find evidence
Looking at each problem on the list, ask “What evidence do you have that this problem actually exists?”.
If there is no evidence to confirm a problem exists, then research is needed to validate its existence.
5. Remove the solution
Let the stakeholders convince themselves that the project is important.
Ask “Do you think living with the problem may be cheaper than fixing it?”.
Without stakeholders’ buy-in even my best solution will fall flat.
6. Explore constraints
Ask “Did something stop you from succeeding in the past?”.
If obstacles still exist, first explore ways stakeholders can remove these obstacles, before going onto solutions.
7. Preparation
Before the interview, send stakeholders email outlining the six types of questions I’ll be asking them. This gives them time to prepare and confirm they have the authority to make decisions and manage the budget.