So you’ve decided on a user experience (UX) overhaul. Good for you! Whether you’re working with an in-house team or an outside consultant, planning an enterprise UX project is a balancing act. You’re trying to meet user needs while also pleasing internal stakeholders, like designers, developers, and your executive team.
You have to constantly earn (and maintain) buy-in from across your organization, and that’s no easy task. Some of your stakeholders might not understand UX or why it’s important, mistakenly thinking UX is just about “making it pretty.”
Some of your stakeholders might not understand UX or why it’s important, mistakenly thinking UX is just about “making it pretty.
Getting everyone to agree on a design direction can feel like herding cats. Conflicting opinions and goals can get in the way of reaching a consensus. No matter how carefully you plan your UX project, if you don’t get support from everyone involved, it could fail.
Here are 4 ways to ensure your overhaul is met with success and acceptance:
1. Involve stakeholders early and often
We’ve all been there. You slave over a project for weeks or months and finally show your baby, your pride and joy, to the decision-makers. They look at it for a moment and promptly shoot it down. Maybe the company’s direction has changed or priorities have shifted. You have to start over.
While there’s no surefire way to prevent this from happening, involving stakeholders early and often is key. The more involved a person feels, the more invested they’ll be in the project, it’s just human nature. And the sooner you involve stakeholders, the earlier you can address concerns as they pop up instead of discovering them late into the process.
2. Check your pride at the door
Even though your stakeholders probably aren’t user experience experts, they offer an important perspective, and their insights are critical. Non-designers often have trouble articulating why something “doesn’t feel right,” so ask follow-up questions to gain more understanding.
3. Set the stage in meetings
It’s tempting to start meetings by showing everyone wireframes or mockups. After all, your team has been working hard, and it’s fun to share your vision for your new UX.
However, showing screens without context puts you at risk of getting too far in the weeds too soon. Instead, start by telling a story. Every good story has a hero who’s going on some kind of quest, and in the context of UX, your user is the hero.
It’s important that your audience understands the nuances of your hero’s persona. What makes them tick? What are they trying to accomplish? Knowing this will help put your stakeholders in a similar state of mind, the user’s state of mind, so that once you start looking at screens, you’re looking at them through the same lens.
4. Keep stakeholder priorities in mind
While you should always orient your audience to the user’s story, it’s important to also keep stakeholder priorities in mind. As you’re presenting ideas, developers will be thinking about how they’re going to build what you’ve created.
Business leaders will be thinking about how much time and money the project will take. By understanding your stakeholders’ perspectives, you can be prepared to point out different aspects of the project that are relevant to their role.
Are there any other tips you’ve used to get stakeholder buy-in? If so, share them in the comments section below.