Kim Goodwin says that stakeholder interviews are a critical step to setting the foundation for a project and establishing clear expectations and goals. These interviews are an opportunity to understand the perspective of the stakeholder: what they want to accomplish and why, and what ideas and expertise they bring. Interviews are also an opportunity to identify discrepancies in the goals and expectations shared by stakeholders.
When preparing for your stakeholder interviews, put together a set of basic questions. These questions may even seem dumb, but it’s important to encourage stakeholders to explain in their own words the challenges that may (or may not) seem self-evident.
Some of those basic questions may look like the following:
- What do you think this project is about?
- Who is it for?
- When do you need it completed, and why?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen?
- What should it accomplish for the business?
- How will YOU define success?
- How do you want to be involved, and what’s the best way to involve you?
- Who else will influence the outcome?