Some ideas for working with stakeholders

Image from Vecteezy

Get them involved early

This is crucial. The sooner they’re involved the less contextual explanation is needed. If stakeholders can see how your product has developed over time they’ll have a much broader understanding. Rather than showing them an end result and attempting to second-guess they’re suggestions or post-rationalise early decisions, they can come to those decisions with you.

Respect their expertise

There can be a lot of pressures: deadlines, meetings, coordinating with design and devs. But this doesn’t mean your stakeholders are any less important. It’s easy to forget they’re not fully involved in everything your project is moving along. Sometimes, in the fits of writing, it’s easy to forget where our expertise ends. So remember to show humility — you’re not the subject matter expert. And make it clear to the stakeholders you’re speaking with them because you need their input.

Meet regularly

This step is a bit easier, but by no means less important. By not only involving them early, but regularly you’ll build a rapport and a more organic way of working. This will make things easier, but also make them feel more comfortable and part of the process.

Listen carefully

Of course, you’re listening to your stakeholders’ feedback and suggestions. But it’s worth also listening to the words and phrases they use.

Compromise

This is the hardest one. Sometimes you just have to compromise. It’s tough to take, but to make progress and get somewhere near user friendly, there are occasions where you have to meet in the middle.

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