Stakeholder research is performed at the beginning of a project and provides personal insight into the organisational and project needs, business goals, company competencies and individual biases.
For us, stakeholders should include key decision makers on the project, as well as people whom the work will affect from across the organisation, such as marketing, IT, support desk, copy writing, logistics and so on. Ideally we’d interview varying levels of seniority; senior staff may have the overall strategy and vision but those on the shop floor will often know more of the procedural hurdles and specific problems that need to be solved or worked around.
We hold stakeholder interviews as one-to-one sessions to encourage candidness and to ensure that the stakeholders have the opportunity to state their opinions openly.
We may also run fun, engaging workshops with teams from across the organisation to collaboratively prioritise objectives and generate ideas. These initial stakeholder workshops are a useful opportunity to bring together a diverse set of viewpoints and objectives, and collectively agree what is most important. This helps secure buy-in from stakeholders for a focused approach to the project, and avoids ‘design by commitee’ by giving everyone the opportunity to voice their opinions – and agree how they should be prioritised – early in the project.