Stakeholder Mapping: IA Summit 2014

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What if we had a method we could use with clients to better understand their stakeholder landscape and that would help us do more effective UX work? What if it was more like a consulting method instead of a design deliverable? Could that help us choose research, design and evaluation methods more effectively so we could have more impact on our projects?

Text of Stakeholder Mapping: IA Summit 2014

  • 1. MAPPINGMARCH 30, 2014 IA SUMMIT STAKEHOLDER My name is Gene Smith. This is my seventh or eighth presentation at the IA Summit in the last 10 years. Im really grateful and humbled to be part of this years program. Theres just so much great content being shared this weekend. This talk is about Stakeholder mapping.

2. #stakeholdermapping #shmap @gsmith If you want to tweet about this talk, I will follow the hashtag #stakeholdermapping and look at your comments and feedback later. If you want to tweet to me directly, my handle is @gsmith 3. I think itll be helpful if I share a couple of details about my company before I get started just to give you the context our business. nForm is a UX design rm. Were located in Edmonton Canada. And we work exclusively with enterprise clients on large websites and intranets and complex business applications. We dont really do things like ecommerce, micro-sites, or consumer facing web apps. Thats partly a reection of our location and customer base, as well as some of the choices weve made. One of the features of our projects is that there are lots of people at the table with competing and sometimes divergent interests. And there are usually a few important people who aren't at the table, but who are invested in whatever product we happen to be working on. A couple of years a ago I had a moment of clarity. The realization was that if we better understood the stakeholders on our projects, the relationships between them, the role they play, their interests, and that sort of thing, we would have a powerful advantage when it comes to planning and doing our work. A methodical and comprehensive map of our stakeholders concerns would help us be more savvy consultants *and* most importantly do better research, design and evaluation work. 4. This moment of clarity was the result of a simple question. It was a cool June afternoon. I was sitting in a boardroom in Victoria, Canada, with seven othersdevelopers, architects, account managers, project managers. I was the only UX person. We were doing a retrospective on an application development project that had just failed. We had been part of that project, and thankfully we weren't the reason it failed. We were asked to pull together with a new team to start over. So as we surveyed the wreckage of this failed project, we started to talk about all the different people who should've been involved, all the different people who had to approve different facets of this system, and generally, all the different people who had some kind stake in the project. And one guy, a senior guy with a lot of corporate knowledge, asks "so who is the client?" Photo: https://www.ickr.com/photos/yasminsimpson/11287682726/ 5. Who is the client? We all paused. It's not like we didn't know who signed the contract and the cheques. We all knew that. The problem was there was a long list of other people who had a material interest in what we were doing. They weren't the economic or contractual client, but they were clients. Within two minutes of that question being asked we collectively came up with a list of eight clients. It was the usual acronym soup. All of them were the client. And by that I mean all of them were important enough to have approvalto say yea or nayto some or all of what we were building. And some of them had different points of view on what the application needed to be. We couldn't just walk into this project with the mindset that we were there to advocate for and design for the end user. That would be naive. 6. We had this whole constellation of stakeholders we needed to accommodate with our process, with our deliverables. This was where the lightbulb started to icker on for me. Maybe the reason we aren't having the impact we want on this project is because we haven't adequately surveyed the stakeholder landscape. And if you dont mind me mixing metaphors, we only had a rudimentary map of that landcape. We didnt even have a There be dragons on it. Maybe if we had a methodical and comprehensive understanding of that landscape, our design work would be more effective. 7. What if we had a method we could use with clients to better understand their stakeholder landscape and that would help us do more eective UX work? What if it was more like a consulting method instead of a design deliverable? Repeatable, teachable, measurable, provide reliable and unique insights, oer guidance on strategies. Could that help us choose research, design and evaluation methods more eectively so we could have more impact on our projects? So I started to ask myself some questions: What if we had a method we could use with clients to better understand their stakeholder landscape and that would help us do more effective UX work? What if it was more like a consulting method instead of a design deliverable? Repeatable, teachable, measurable, provide reliable and unique insights, offer guidance on strategies. Could that help us choose research, design and evaluation methods more effectively so we could have more impact on our projects? 8. As I was asking myself these questions, there were some tools in the UX space that were an inspiration to me: XPLANEs empathy map, which Ive used dozens of times, and does a great job of getting clients to put themselves in the shoes of different users. 9. Text TUGs performance continuumsIve used these a few times as welland they are really effective at spurring discussion about the nature of the product were working on. So I starting working through ideascould we develop something simple like empathy maps or performance continuums, but that would help us and clients decide what to do with stakeholders early in a project? 10. 1. Whats already been done in the eld of stakeholder mapping 2. What Ive been thinking about: stakeholder mapping for complex design projects 3. A method weve been testing internally and those results. What Im going to walk you through today is 1. Whats already been done in the eld of stakeholder mapping 2. What Ive been thinking about: stakeholder mapping can be used on complex design projects 3. A method weve been testing internally and those results. So by no means is this a complete method or set of tools, but this is our rst thrust at creating stakeholder mapping tools specically for complex design projects. 11. Whats a stakeholder? But rst, let's start with the most important question: what is a stakeholder? The term has different meanings depending on the context. In business, stakeholders are typically investors, analysts, customers, board members, perhaps various kinds of advocacy groups depending on the industry. In public engagement, stakeholder can mean any kind of individual or community group. In our UX work we sometimes distinguish between users and stakeholdersthough perhaps that distinction is unnecessary. 12. A party that has an interest in an enterprise or project Any person group or organization that can place a claim on the organization's attention, resources, or output, or is aected by that output. - Bryson, 1995 Those individuals or groups who depend on the organization to fulll their own goals and on whom, in turn, the organization depends" - Johnson & Scholes, 2002 Here are three denitions: A party that has an interest in an enterprise or project Any person group or organization that can place a claim on the organization's attention, resources, or output, or is affected by that output (Bryson, 1995) Those individuals or groups who depend on the organization to fulll their own goals and on whom, in turn, the organization depends" (Johnson & Scholes, 2002) I really like the third denition, since it encompasses the users we usually fret over. But for the purposes of this talk any of these will dowe are talking about people or groups who have an interest in what we're doing. 13. Whats Already Been Done Stakeholder mapping is not a new activity. It's widely used in management consulting, urban planning, resource management, and public participation activities. I want to walk you through some of prior work in this area, because I think it's instructive. 14. INTEREST INFLUENCE Keep Informed Manage Closely Keep Informed + Two-way Communication Keep Satised One of the rst stakeholder analysis tools, developed by Gardner in the 1980s, is called a power/interest matrix. With this tool you rank stakeholders based on their level of interest and their level of inuence. One thing I like about this tool is it provides strategic guidance. For example, stakeholders that are high inuence and high interest are to be managed closely. 15. Crowd PlayerSubjects INTEREST INFLUENCE Context Setter In a later version of this tool, developed by Eden and Ackermann in the late 1990s, we can see these groups named. If youre in the upper right, youre a player If youre in the lower right, a context setter One of the challenges for this tool, and any of the others that examine power/inuence, is that power is a hard thing to discuss honestly. On one project we were involved in, the project manager created a power/interest matrix as a planning tool. It was included some of the official project documentation and it just so happened that one executive member was placed in the low inuence. Midway through the project, the project sponsor sees this matrix and objects. She says he cant be listed low inuence, what if he sees this? So he was moved to high inuence, and the effectiveness of the tool was diminished. 16. Another for technique for stakeholder analysis looks at power, legitimacy and urgency. Stakeholders are classied based on whether they have the power to inuence the project or organization, legitimacy in they eyes of the organization, and the degree to which their claims or issues call for immediate attention. Salience is dened as the degree to which the organization prioritizes competing stakeholders. This model is also prescriptive; it tells us how to pr