Understanding Organizational Stakeholders for Design Success
by Jonathan Boutelle on 2004/05/06 | [6 Comments]
Who stakeholders are and why they matter
Stakeholders are defined as “individuals or organizations who stand to gain or lose from the success or failure of a system” (Nuseibeh and Easterbrook, 2000). For a software system, this can include managers, designers, and users of a system. Since, by definition, stakeholders are those who are impacted by (or have an impact on) the project, their perspectives need to be taken into account in order for a project to be successful. Stakeholders can have positive or negative views regarding a given project, and often don’t agree with one another, making it a challenge to reconcile their varied viewpoints.
“ A design must meet the business needs of the company, and must be supported by disparate members of the management team, in order to be actually implemented. ”
User-centered design professionals pay special emphasis to one type of stakeholder—the users of the system—arguing that user experience needs to be carefully crafted to satisfy user needs. While understanding user needs and goals is certainly necessary, it is often not sufficient for producing a successful design. Apart from an understanding of user needs and perspective, design needs to incorporate the goals and perspective of other stakeholders in order to get their buy-in and be considered a success in the corporate workplace.
Stakeholders are often in conflict with one another. For example, consider the design of a system for use in a manufacturing plant. Factory workers might value a high degree of autonomy and personal control over their work practice, while management might value efficiency and standardization of the factory’s workflow (Spinuzzi, 2002). The goals of various organizational stakeholders might differ as well. For example, the factory manager might want to maximize the output of the factory, while the CFO might want to...