WHAT IS IT?
A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in, who works on or will use the output of your project. A stakeholder interview is a meeting between the UX person (you) and the stakeholder; it serves two purposes:
- It allows you to find out what their expectations of you and the project are
- It allows you to explain and promote the UX component of the project and get the backing of stakeholders for your efforts
WHEN TO BE USED?
Stakeholder interviews can be a powerful tool during the information-gathering phase of your UX projects. The answers and information provided also help to inform the overall UX planning process. However, the number of stakeholder interviews you can conduct and how you conduct them will depend on the project budget and the organization itself. But at least 2-3 stakeholders should be involved.
HOW TO CONDUCT A STAKEHOLDERS INTERVIEW?
The first step for any kind of research is to make your plan, it will help you to focus on your goal, focus on the time and budget. In your plan you have to include the following:
- Setup your research goals and objectives for the project. You need to be very clear about your objective for the interview. Is it to determine the business unit’s needs? Is it to understand the impact of certain proposed changes in that area of the business? Is it to get a grip on how that stakeholder views your work to date?
- Identify the key stakeholders that you will interview. Based on your objectives and goals, you will select you stakeholders that will give you what you are really after.
- Contact the stakeholders and schedule a time for an interview. Don’t just turn up and expect them to see you. Give them a little detail about what you’re doing and the purpose of the meeting too. Meetings can be held over the phone if face-to-face meetings aren’t convenient.
- Develop a list of questions you will use at the interview. Format them into a questionnaire. Share them with the stakeholder before the interview if at all possible; it will help them prepare for the meeting.
- Consider materials and logistics. You need to plan and prepare your materials and what you will need during the interviews, like papers, pens, sticky notes and audio recorders.
- Scheduling your interviews with stakeholders in a timetable make it easy for you to plan any other activities and avoid conflict in time slots if you are conducting a lot of interviews. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into a 10-minute time slot if you really need an hour to get a proper understanding but if you do only need 10 minutes – don’t book an hour either.
- Calculate all the expenses that will be needed, like materials to buy, travel costs or any other expenses.
- At the interview, ask the questions and record the answers. Take prior permission from the interviewee for recording; else have someone make a transcript of the interview. Don’t rush an interview; if you need more time, arrange another meeting. If something particularly interesting introduces a whole new line of questioning, you can add that to other interviews with different stakeholders if it also has value.
Your questionnaire should include a simple introduction like this:
This exercise is part of the requirements gathering process for the new HRMS system.
We’re interviewing key stakeholders to get their input on:
- Our current HRMS system
- The expected facility of a new HRMS system
- Any specific objectives you have for the HRMS system
We’ll meet up in person to discuss this but it could be useful (and time-saving) if you review the questions below so that we can move this process forward easily.
Then ask your questions (feel free to add/remove and customize as necessary, these are examples only):
- What is your name, title, and role in the project?
- Who are your customers at the moment?
- What products and services do they buy?
- What changes are coming up on the product/service roadmap?
- What are your key competitors and how do you feel you compare to them?
- What is the company vision?
- How do you feel about the current HRMS system?
- What are the main weaknesses of the system?
- What are the strengths of the current system?
- Why is your company investing in a new HRMS?
- What would a successful outcome of this project look like to you?
- How will you measure the project’s success?
- What must be addressed in this project?
- Is there anyone else, in particular, you think we would benefit from interviewing?
- What is your vision for this offering?
- What defines success for this project?
- What are the potential pitfalls (i.e. what keeps you up at night about this project)?
- Different types of users (salesperson v/s supervisor v/s analyst)
- Who is primary?
- Typical Background?
- Defining Attribute?
- What problems do users have that this offering solves?
- What is the core value prop of the offering?
- What are the main marketing messages?
- What similar tools are in use today?
- Target Market? Value Proposition?
- What are their relative strengths/weaknesses?
- How is this offering different?
- Target market(s)?
- What role is your team selling to?
- What problem do they have that your offering solves?
- Who is their competition?
- How are they differentiated?
PROCESS & WORKFLOW (example questions here for a Salesperson role):
- What are the nature of the salesperson and their customer?
- How does the salesperson know when it is time to engage with a customer? Are there multiple types of engagements? Are there other key patterns (e.g. cyclical patterns, size of the company, level of customer savvy-ness, industry, etc.)
- How do they prepare? Who do they work with? What tools do they use?
- How do they engage? What is the first step? And the next (and so on)? How does the engagement end?
- What frustrations/ pain points do they experience with their current process?
CONTEXT OF USE:
- What tools do they use today? Where do those tools fit? (Collect screenshots, printouts, any relevant articles if possible)
- What data points do they collect today? What insight are they able to share with customers today? How do they share it? What does it look like?
- What’s missing in the current process that this tool will provide?
- Where do you imagine your new (or redesigned) offering will fit?
- What defines success? (If an experience goes well, what happens, commission? bonus?)
- What are bad results? (If an experience doesn’t go well, what happens?)
- If users had a “magic wand” and could wish for anything to make the process better, what would they wish for?