What it is
An ideal method for discovery and focus when working with Executives or managers, Subject matter experts, Support staff, or Board members.
Why this method
To build consensus about the problem statement and research objectives.
"Interviews with project stakeholders offer a rich source of insights into the collective mind of an organization. They can help you uncover areas of misalignment between a company’s documented strategy and the attitudes and day-to-day decision-making of stakeholders. They can also highlight issues that deserve special consideration due to their strategic importance to a business." Steve Baty, design strategist
For focused study
When faced with a broad brief, talk to stakeholders to help focus your attention to best serve your users.
For example, the UofG UX project had a brief to 'make improvements to the IT Services website'. Faced with more than 300 pages in 40 sections, we consulted the stakeholders who spend the most time with IT Services customers: the staff of the IT Helpdesk. We asked them which topics students most often need help with, and which parts of the website they stuggle with themselves while helping students.
How to use
- Create a guide of some broad topics and some specific questions as well. Questions will often concern the individual’s role, the organization, the individuals’ needs, and metrics for success of the project.
- In a focused session, sit down one-on-one with the participant or two-on-one with a note-taker. If doing a discovery session, this can be an informal sit down and include more people on both sides. Introduce yourself. Explain the premise for the interview as far as you can without biasing their responses.
- Follow the conversation where the participant(s) takes it. They will focus on their priorities and interests. Be comfortable with silences, which allow the participant to elaborate. Use your interview guide to make sure you cover what you need to. Ask lots of “why” and “how” questions.
- Conducting Successful Interviews With Project Stakeholders, by Steve Baty
- A stakeholder interview checklist for discovery interviews, by Kim Goodwin
- A stakeholder interview checklist for focused interviews, by 18F
- Research questions are not interview questions - article by Erika Hall