Stakeholder involvement: Brief thoughts

a group of people sitting at a table

Website redesign projects have many stakeholders who serve varying audiences with varying needs. Without careful planning, projects can be derailed by many cooks in the kitchen. With a little structure, however, you can plan your stakeholder involvement such that they provide valuable inputs and are assured that the project is progressing well.

  • Early phase: Interview department heads and C-suite leadership. Discuss their needs and pain points. For the Brookings Institution, we spent a full summer interviewing delegates from research departments, product teams, and global offices. Only by talking with them could we learn what they and their external constituencies needed from the new website.
  • Demo designs early: C-suite leaders and directors need assurance that the project is heading in the right direction and that progress is being made. For your own stakeholder involvement, demo the site homepage design and possibly other key pages. For Science News, an early presentation of the homepage to the magazine’s publisher confirmed we were on the right track with our design choices. From there, we forged ahead confidently with our remaining design and UX work.
  • Update stakeholders frequently: Plan on regularly updating your leadership about the project’s progression. Look for established meetings like monthly planning sessions where you can outline progress and demo completed work. Create a way for people to provide feedback or ask questions asynchronously via a Google form or similar.

Focusing on these targeted touchpoints will allow you to keep stakeholders (and your larger team) well-informed and involved without jeopardizing the timeline and burdening them with unnecessary details.

How have you dealt with stakeholders before? Let us know your own tips and tricks on Twitter!