A stakeholder meeting is a strategic way to derive usability objectives from business objectives, and to gain commitment to usability. It also collects information about the purpose of the system and its overall context of use.
- Ensures that all factors that relate to use of the system are identified before design work starts.
- Bring together all the people relevant to the development, to create a common vision.
Arrange a half-day meeting. Invite stakeholders who have knowledge about the business objectives, the intended users and usage. This may include:
- business manager
- project manager
- user representative(s)
The first three are key areas. You will also need a facilitator and a person to record the information provided during the meeting.
Before the meeting
- Identify the key issues you need to explore.
- Provide all participants with a copy of a list of the issues to be discussed at the meeting.
At the meeting
Briefly discuss the following topics:
- Why is the system being developed? What are the overall objectives? How will it be judged as a success?
- Who are the intended users and what are their tasks? (Why will they use the system? What is their experience and expertise?)
- Who are the other stakeholders and how might they be impacted by the consequences of a usable or unusable system?
- What are the stakeholder and organisational requirements?
- What are the technical and environmental constraints? (What types of hardware will be used in what environments?)
- What key functionality is needed to support the user needs?
- How will the system be used? What is the overall workflow (e.g. from deciding to use the system, through operating it to obtaining results)? What are typical scenarios of what the users can achieve?
- What are the usability goals? (e.g. How important is ease of use and ease of learning? How long should it take users to complete their tasks? Is it important to minimise user errors? What GUI style guide should be used?)
- How will users obtain assistance?
- Are there any initial design concepts?
- Is there an existing or competitor system?
Try to obtain consensus where there is uncertainty or disagreement. If information is missing, agree how this can be obtained. Avoid prolonged discussion of minor issues.
After the meeting
Obtain any missing information. If the information is not easily available, arrange a field study to observe users in their work environment.
Circulate to all participants a summary of the conclusions.
If possible hold this meeting before the functional requirements have been finalised, but the meeting is important even if user centred design is introduced late in the development process. All stakeholders should attend the first meeting. Hold additional smaller meetings if more detail is required.
If it is impossible to hold a meeting, the information can be collected by interviews or questionnaires, but this does not enable commitment and consensus to be achieved.
Collect and agree detailed information about the context of use.
The stakeholder meeting described here is similar to the LUCID Envision activity©UsabilityNet 2006. Reproduction permitted provided the source is acknowledged.