The objectives of the stakeholder interview
There are several objectives that a stakeholder interview might aim to achieve, including:
Gaining a better understanding of the needs, goals, and expectations of the stakeholders
Identifying any potential challenges or issues that may arise during the project
Developing strategies to address any identified challenges or issues
Validating project objectives and ensuring that they align with the needs and goals of the stakeholders
Building buy-in and support from key stakeholders
Gathering information and context needed to make informed decisions about the project
Facilitating communication and collaboration among stakeholders
Identifying potential opportunities for innovation or improvement
The main objective of a stakeholder interview is to gather the information and context needed to ensure the successful planning and execution of the project, while also buildin commitment and support from key stakeholders.
Value of stakeholders interview
Stakeholder interviews can provide several valuable benefits, including:
Gaining a better understanding of the needs, goals, and expectations of the stakeholders
By conducting stakeholder interviews, you can gain a deeper understanding of the perspectives and priorities of different stakeholders, which can help guide the project's direction and ensure that it meets their needs.
Identifying and addressing potential challenges or issues
Stakeholder interviews can help identify potential challenges or issues that may arise during the project and allow you to develop strategies to address them. This can help ensure the smooth progress of the project and minimize disruptions.
Validating project objectives
Stakeholder interviews can help validate that the project objectives are aligned with the needs and goals of the stakeholders, which can help build support and commitment from key stakeholders.
Gathering information and context
Stakeholder interviews can provide valuable information and context about the project, which can help inform decision-making and ensure the project is successful.
Building buy-in and support
By engaging stakeholders in the planning process through stakeholder interviews, you can build support and commitment from key stakeholders, which can be critical to the project's success.
Facilitating communication and collaboration
Stakeholder interviews can facilitate communication and collaboration among stakeholders, which can benefit the project.
Stakeholder interviews are a valuable tool for gathering the information and context needed to ensure the success of a project while also building support and commitment from key stakeholders.
Possible stakeholders for UX projects…
Users that will be using this product or service.
Customers that will be purchasing this product or service.
A decision maker who attained approval for the go-ahead of this project.
The product/project manager is the key driver and responsible for the final delivery, i.e., budget, timeline, etc.
The team that works on this project is usually a combination of designers, engineers, etc.
Subject matter experts on this project, someone with deep knowledge of the problem, domain, constraints, etc.
The executive sponsor is a head of a department or head of the company, like the CEO, CTO, and CIO.
Department representatives to gain insight into their input to the project, i.e., HR, finance, customer success, marketing, engineering, legal, etc.
⚡ Pro Tip: Stakeholders are people, groups, or organizations that are directly or indirectly involved with, or affected by, a project, product, service, or enterprise. They play a role in shaping how a company operates and conducts its business.
When should you do the stakeholder interview?
Stakeholder interviews are typically conducted during the initial discovery phase of a project. This is the phase where you gather information and context about the project and develop a plan for moving forward. Stakeholder interviews can effectively gather this information, as they allow you to directly engage with the stakeholders and understand their needs, goals, and expectations.
Stakeholder interviews can be conducted at any point in the project lifecycle as long as they help gather information or address issues. For example:
Gather an understanding of the context surrounding the project, including the market, industry, domain, and solution
Learn about the customers, users, and other stakeholders involved in the project
Understand the unique characteristics and constraints of the organization, such as its culture, assumptions, working style, and brand
Obtain knowledge about the project at various stages, including the beginning, early development, and post-launch
Improve communication and build rapport by sharing a clear and unified vision for the project
Engage stakeholders in the design process to build trust and buy-in
Use the information gathered to set specific goals, define milestones, and prioritize tasks effectively.
How to prepare yourself for a stakeholder interview
Here are some steps you can take to prepare for a stakeholder interview:
Set up the research goal
To define the goal of a stakeholder interview, you should first consider the purpose of the interview and the information you hope to gather. here are some questions you might ask yourself to help define the goal of a stakeholder interview:
What do I hope to learn from this interview?
What information is most important to gather to move the project forward?
What key challenges or issues need to be addressed in this project?
What are the stakeholder’s needs, goals, and expectations?
How can I build buy-in and support from the stakeholders?
What can opportunities for innovation or improvement be identified through this interview?
Answering these questions can help you clarify the purpose of the interview and the information you hope to gather, which can help you define the goal of the interview.
Identify the stakeholders
Choose the stakeholders who can provide valuable insights and context for your research questions through the stakeholder interview process.
Potential stakeholders include people who:
Make decisions about time, money, and resources that impact the project
Have a role in the UX and product design process
Possess knowledge or information relevant to the project
Have the ability to influence the organization
Will be expected to take action based on the research insights obtained through the interview process
Interview structure types
There are several types of interview structures that you can use for stakeholder interviews, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Some common types of interview structures include:
Structured interviews follow a predetermined set of questions, which allows for more consistency and comparability among interviews. However, they may be less flexible and not allow in-depth exploration of specific topics.
Unstructured interviews are more open-ended and do not follow a predetermined set of questions. This allows for more flexibility and can lead to more in-depth conversations. However, they may be less consistent and not allow easy interview comparisons.
Semi-structured interviews combine elements of structured and unstructured interviews. They may have predetermined questions but also allow flexibility to explore other topics as needed.
Group interviews involve interviewing a group of stakeholders simultaneously. This can be efficient but may also lead to less in-depth conversations and be more challenging to manage.
One-on-one interviews involve interviewing each stakeholder individually. This can allow for more in-depth conversations but may also be more time-consuming.
Ultimately, the best interview structure will depend on the interview's goals and the stakeholders' needs.
An interview guide is a set of questions or prompts used to guide a stakeholder interview. It helps to ensure that the interview stays focused and covers the topics most important to the project. An interview guide typically includes open-ended questions that allow the stakeholder to provide detailed and insightful responses.
There are several benefits to using an interview guide:
It helps to ensure that the interview stays focused on the most critical topics.
It allows you to gather consistent and comparable data from multiple interviews.
It can help you identify trends or patterns in the responses that may not be apparent otherwise.
It can facilitate the analysis of the data collected from the interviews.
Here is an example of an agenda for a stakeholder interview:
Begin the interview by introducing yourself and the purpose of the interview.
Review of agenda
Review the agenda with the stakeholder to ensure that they understand the topics that will be covered.
Gather background information about the stakeholder, including their role in the organization and their experience with the project.
Ask the key questions that have been identified in the interview guide. These may include questions about the stakeholder’s needs, goals, expectations for the project, and any challenges or issues they have encountered.
Ask follow-up questions to gather more detailed and insightful responses.
Summarize the key points discussed and thank the stakeholder for their time.
This is just one example of an agenda for a stakeholder interview, and the specific topics and order may vary depending on the needs and goals of the project.
⚡️ Pro Tip: Conduct a practice run, also known as a “dry run,” of the stakeholder interview to identify repeated questions, assess the need for specific questions, and understand how everything will come together on the day of the actual interview.
Stakeholder interview summary
Asking the right questions during a stakeholder interview can help create clarity and build positive working relationships. These questions should be tailored to the specific project and may change as the interview progresses, and the stakeholder provides more information. It is essential to listen carefully and avoid jumping to conclusions. Asking “why?” can be a helpful way to gather more in-depth information.
The information gathered during the stakeholder interview should not be used as-is. Instead, it should be consolidated and turned into actionable items.
Analyses & Report
There are several steps you can take to begin analyzing the results of a stakeholder interview:
Review each interview separately and prepare transcript
Reviewing each stakeholder interview separately and preparing a transcript can help you get a more detailed and thorough understanding of the information gathered.
Review the notes and transcripts from the interview
Carefully review the notes and transcripts from the interview to familiarize yourself with the information gathered.
Identify key themes and issues
Look for patterns or themes that emerge from the data and any specific issues or challenges raised by the stakeholders.
Organize the information
Use a tool like a mind map or affinity diagram to organize the information in a way that is easy to understand and reference.
Analyze the data
Consider the implications of the key themes and issues identified and how they may impact the project.
Share the insight with stakeholders
Sharing the insights and recommendations gathered during stakeholder interviews is essential in using those insights to inform decision-making and planning for a project. There are several ways you can share the results of stakeholder interviews with the relevant parties:
Prepare a summary document
Create a document summarizing the key points and insights from the stakeholder interviews. This can include a summary of the background and perspective of each stakeholder, as well as any key themes or issues that emerged.
Use visual aids
Use tools like mind maps or affinity diagrams to visually organize and display the information gathered from the interviews. This can make it easier for others to understand and reference the data.
Present the results to the team
Consider presenting the results of the stakeholder interviews to the project team or other relevant stakeholders. This can be an excellent way to share insights and get feedback or buy-in from others.
Incorporate the insights into project planning
Use the insights and recommendations gathered from the stakeholder interviews to inform decision-making and planning for the project. This may involve incorporating specific recommendations into the project plan or adjusting the scope or goals of the project based on the insights gathered.
By sharing the insights from stakeholder interviews in an organized and effective way, you can ensure that the information is used to inform decision-making and move the project forward.