Barbara Miotto, March 18, 2018
This text was published byUX Collective BR
The early stages of a search for a new product begins with the survey of the greatest possible amount of information that may influence it.
Perhaps for this reason, one of the best sources for this information are the stakeholders: those individuals who have great influence in the development and approval of any project.
In addition to decision makers, they are inserted in the various areas of the business and will present different perspectives on what this new product should be and how it will fit into the company's or customer's portfolio.
It may seem unimportant to interview them, because we assume that their opinions are common knowledge or because these opinions are passed on by members of the company's intermediate positions. But the main idea of these interviews is to create an environment for the exchange of information and where personal opinions will be preserved and compared anonymously. Conducting these interviews individually can clearly show the divergent and converging ideas of the executives, predict critical points in the execution and implementation, in addition to creating an aspect of proximity with them.
In addition, it is important to remember: stakeholders, in addition to influencers, will be those who willaprove the project.
Identifying stakeholders and scheduling interviews:
When planning stakeholder interviews, the number of people to be interviewed may vary depending on the size of the project or the company. The important thing is to be able to absorb the current and future business ideals, the political and strategic vision of the company and the vocation of the new product that will be developed.
To make this possible, the first step would be to seek to understand who are thekey-people who have a direct influence on the project - not just those who are interested in it.
Prioritize: decision makers, influencers and people with more information about the product.
Businessarea: Managers and leaders, marketing and sales professionals.
The role of these people is to enrich the research with the company's business values and objectives, align the language of the product to the language with the users and define interesting goals and metrics to guarantee a successful project.
Engineers, developers, QA and technical support: Look for technical and operational limitations during this interview. Understand how problems are solved at the moment and how they should be solved in the future. Do not lose your exploratory spirit during meetings where everything seems impossible, questioning the origin of the limitations and possible solutions.
Other UX team members: The designers have very interesting inputs about the company, which may have been extracted from other projects in which they participated. In this way they can show data from the past, an overview of the user experience and even views on how to better develop the research and implement the project.
From this point, individual or group interviews in the same area of interest should be scheduled. In an hour it is possible to absorb a lot of interesting information (in some cases, it will take longer if the interview requires discussion of very technical aspects, for example).
Invite them for a meeting
Try to introduce the context of that meeting and prepare them for the possible questions that will arise. In the case of the need for more technical information, prepare what possible documents and information will be needed for the meeting, so you can have them in hand and analyze them together, there is also no need to run the risk of the information being dispersed after the meeting. Together with the UX team, seek to understand the main points of influence of each stakeholder .
Starting the interview
Initially, it is interesting to understand the familiarity of stakeholders with the project. If necessary, explain the basics of the project, the time it will take place and what is planned to be implemented. Try to show only a general idea and not to influence the interviewee too much..
A second, extremely important point is to introduce the progress of the conversation. Explain that at that meeting, extremely basic questions will be asked, for example, to assure the interviewee that the team is already working and has knowledge about this information, and that the objective itself is to listen to each other's opinion.
If the interview is conducted by a team of designers, only one should be in charge of asking the questions, while the others listen and take notes, this will bring more organization in progress and less conflict in the speeches. At the end of the questions in the defined script, the interlocutor can suggest that the other team members add any questions they deem necessary.
There may be many opinions and even "ready" solutions related to the design project, coming from different people (from different areas, which is natural and something to be understood). Try to understand what is imagined by the executives, and use these points to justify why the future decisions were influenced or not by these points.
Oftensolutions created by non-designersshow problematic pointsthat need to be rethought and improved.
"Increase the images of the Home page of the website, to attract more attention from customers!", Can be translated as: "We need to increase customer engagement with the content of the website's Home".
It is also assumed that several limitations, deadlines, needs and duties will arise in this first contact. Subtly question the reason for each of these points and see which are exactly real and others that may be just part of a work logic that is maintained without being questioned. Also ask how the user will be affected by these points and whether there is a loss of value due to them.