Understanding Organizational Stakeholders for Design Success

New from Boxes and Arrows: Understanding Organizational Stakeholders for Design Success.

Focusing on business stakeholders and their goals is important for creating successful designs. However, an exclusive focus on business stakeholders could lead to problems—producing a design that does not meet user needs, or is not technically feasible. 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. Not paying attention to the strategic needs of the company and the particular goals of individual stakeholders often dooms a design to rejection by management, regardless of how well it might meet the needs of end users.

I’ve been proposing a project of late: an updated lyrics database for [caedmonscall.net]. I was totally thinking of the end-user when I wrote up the idea; I did not consider the internal stakeholders when I crafted the approach. My pitch to the end-users was great; my internal pitch was lacking, mainly because I mistakenly thought they’d see it as I did. After spending a couple of days pissed about the reaction, I read this, and it struck a chord. I’ve since tried a different tact; hopefully it will help.

Just because the idea’s value is self-evident to me doesn’t mean that I don’t have to win others to that idea. Lesson learned.


  1. This is a really interesting problem. If you have some time, could you PM me with your phone number? (or if you would rather I will give you mine) I’d like to go over some of the design problems that have come up and am interested to see if you have already dealt with them.

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