Introduction to Stakeholder Interviews in Software Projects
Stakeholder interviews drive successful stakeholder engagement and give us an understanding of our software development project’s landscape. This understanding can help us navigate obstacles before they arise and keep everyone engaged and supportive.
Stakeholder interviews help us:
- Gather context and history. Every project comes with history: the origin of the project, known constraints, solutions tried before. If you work in a large organization, there is almost always politics at play. Stakeholder interviews can help us uncover and organize contextual variables and historical baggage that accompanies a project, prior to kickstarting it. Having this knowledge upfront will often lead to a more robust design process, save time, and avoid friction.
- Identify business goals. As UX practitioners, we focus on our users and their needs. In contrast, our stakeholders focus on the business and its needs. Stakeholder interviews can provide us with data and insights about business problems and can pinpoint business objectives and key results. This knowledge ensures that you track the right metrics to prove project success, both from the business’s and users’ point of view.
- Align on a shared vision. Understanding your stakeholders’ vision, beyond success metrics, is another benefit of stakeholder interviews. You can assess where it differs from your own vision, then align on a shared, collaborative vision for your work and the initiative at large.
- Increase buy-in and communication. Ultimately, stakeholder interviews help stakeholders feel heard. They make them more likely to buy into the project and its output. They also help establish an open communication channel throughout the design process.
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