The First Step in fjorge’s Design Process: Defining Stakeholders

Erin Bruns
August 4, 2020

The first step in fjorge’s Design Process is defining stakeholders. The first question we ask a client at fjorge is something along the lines of, “Who else cares about this project?” You might hear this type of question from a project manager, designer, or solutions architect. Sometimes, you might hear it from all three. Our agenda behind this question is to get to know all of the stakeholders. 

Stakeholders are everyone and anyone affected by this project. They range from your competitors to your users to your marketing team to your engineers. This may seem like overkill to get all these people involved in a project, but the best way to ensure success is to make sure everyone’s voice is heard early in the process. 

As mentioned, defining the stakeholders is the first step in the fjorge process. During the initial kickoff meeting, fjorge will take the time to ask “Who are the stakeholders?” in a series of different ways that will hopefully get you thinking. Some of our go-to questions are: 

  • Who is the driving force leading this project to happen?
  • Whose job might change due to the outcome of this?
  • Who needs to give you a stamp of approval to make the next steps happen?

And my personal favorite, 

  • Who would you invite to the final presentation? 

Far too often we find ourselves presenting the results of our discovery work to stakeholders we have never heard mentioned before. This leads to misunderstandings about project requirements and failed expectations. By the time we are giving our final presentation, hours of research and exploration have been invested into the project. The next step is to start development. While we frequently work in agile development, wrong assumptions at the beginning of a project caused by missing stakeholders during discovery end up costing clients more development time in the long run. 

Each stakeholder who is affected by this project will have an input. They will have some type of agenda, motive, requirement, or constraint to add at the least. It is critical for us to learn from each stakeholder in order to produce a product that meets expectations. 

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