Stakeholder Interview: Know Your Clients Better

It affects your team when a stakeholder pauses or shuts your project before it starts. One reason to shut down a project might be the lack of business understanding by the UX designers.  Avoid this ignorance by involving your UX designer to talk with the stakeholders. 

An organization with low UX maturity allows discussion of designs with stakeholders. These talks are essential and need to continue to do the same. 

Stakeholder meet is essential for UX designers working on new projects or unknown domains.

Let’s discuss why collaborating with stakeholders and inviting them for analysis is the need of the hour. 

Who is a stakeholder?

A stakeholder can be your client, someone interested in the project, or even work with you for project completion. Stakeholders can also be your CEO, account manager, or simply an internal person. A stakeholder is an internal or external client or team member. 

In case you cannot define your project and its user, it is best to identify who is interested in your project. Here is a long list of leading queries for your stakeholders to get a good start with your goal.

Illustration of interest of UX designers during project design

The goal for stakeholder interview:

The goal is to get insights about the stakeholders, what they think or know about the users or your target audience. Keep in mind the business ambitions and technical goals, to find out a lot during a stakeholder interview. 

The primary goal of the interview is to get to know:

  1. Business goals:

You won’t get their business goals until you understand their business history, background, vision, mission, core values, context, and motivation to undertake this project. 

  1. Scope of the project:

Remember, your client may have multiple businesses, but you need to know your project rather than just considering the business goals. Note the users of your project, internal clients who work for a business, or the real-time users who would like to use the solution to their advantage.

  1. Dig into user beliefs:

Knowing users, their beliefs, feedback, and existing research data act as a reference point to start your project. Don’t get confused with the app feedback, customer support calls, messages, or reviews as your user’s feedback, they don’t replace proper UX research. 

  1. Discuss constraints:

Discuss client’s constraints related to geographical boundaries, financial, organizational, language, so they develop the project for the right set of users.

Process for interviews:

We can roughly divide the process of the stakeholder interview into 3 parts.

  1. Preparation :

Prepare the initial questionnaire for the stakeholders to get the perfect scenario and more information on the plot. You can speak about their business, how your solution will play a role, communicate about the purpose of your project.

Try to ask straight and open-ended questions, communicate the agenda of the meeting beforehand so you won’t waste time.

  1. Interview:

Point out the stakeholder who is essential for you to understand the business goals. Sometimes you may have to conduct multiple rounds of interviews for complex projects or segmentation-based roles. 

  1. Summary: 

Document the interview in video format and write the note to avoid misunderstanding. Most IT projects are based on robust Agile principles. The stakeholder can request the feature or design changes at the last moment of project completion. To avoid this, understand the project thoroughly before you proceed with it. 

Additional research conducted will improve your product’s demand in the market.

  • Known the competitors of your clients. Their markets and strategies they have opted to master their business.
  • Interview the subject expert so your solutions fit into their domain model.
  • Discuss other aspects like deadlines (milestones), team members, collaborative tools, like slack, asana, etc.
  • Technical discussions like workflow, technology stack, and framework to know their preference for technology.

Stakeholder analysis: 

The outcome of your project is best with stakeholder analysis used to investigate the potential of each stakeholder. Some stakeholders have more impact than others. Apply different strategies to these influential stakeholders than to less influential ones. 

              

Stakeholder mapping :

Power-interest mapping referred to as Menelow’s matric plots stakeholders against power and interest map. This map shows which stakeholders influence your project. 

  1. Key players:

Manage closely with the stakeholders interested in your project, as they influence its design and development. Addressing the projects to such stakeholders is essential, as they knowingly or unknowingly will stop or block the project. Dealing with them will add to the success of your project.

  1. Keep satisfied:

Few stakeholders have powers, but it won’t affect your project. They may get involved when they find that your project affects their work.

  1. Keep informed: 

Some stakeholders have little power but show interest in the project. You can keep them informed about your developments. Do invite them to your discussion.

  1. Minimal effort: 

Some stakeholders don’t have an interest and no authority over your project. It is best of their right to monitor your project.

As the UX developers, you can talk about how they would define the success but avoid controversy on a specific solution. One goal is to find out what problems it should solve, so ask about the user’s objective, issues, pain, and frustrations, and how it solves current challenges.

In case the product or service is new, discuss why your solutions will be different and better than solutions available in the market. If you are redesigning the legacy product, discuss the issues of legacy product, the analytical data, strong and weak areas of legacy product.  

Documentation is critical as you would not like to consume your stakeholder’s time for the same reasons again. So it’s essential to have video recordings and your notes to understand their business requirements. 

Nutshell:

Your goal is to provide the best solution, and your first step is a stakeholder interview. Reveal the hidden assumptions of stakeholders, so all the members involved in designing the solution are on the same page. Document everything regarding the interview, so refer to the archives during team discussions.