The Upside of Stakeholder Involvement

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Slides from my ten minute talk I gave at UX Australia 2011 on Stakeholder Management.

Slides from my ten minute talk I gave at UX Australia 2011 on Stakeholder Management.

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  • My name is Sheryl Soo, and I’m the Principal UX architect at Massive Interactive in Sydney.\n
  • As UX practitioners it’s often difficult to describe what exactly we do. \n\nWhen we get together, we tend to discuss and share with each other tools and techniques we use to drive solutions - \n- research techniques to uncover user’s needs, \n- sketching techniques for concept development, \n- rapid prototyping techniques to describe, to test, a solution, \n- documentation techniques, \n- usability testing methodologies\nand that’s just to name a few along the iterative process we use to discover, conceptualise, and define a great solution.\n\nBut beyond all of these tools and techniques we use to drive an amazing solution, I believe a large part of our role as a UX practitioner, is as a <click> mediator.\n
  • We often refer to ourselves as the user’s advocate. \nBut at the very same time, we’re constantly balancing these needs with the reality checks of:\n- budget\n- business goals\n- marketing goals\n- technical limitations\nas well as\n- political and personal agendas, and opinions that come from key stakeholders.\n\nWhat I’ve found from my own experiences in the field, is that often, mediation - in particular - stakeholder management is often just as critical as the design of the solution itself. \n\nNo matter how amazing a solution you design is, (it doesn’t matter if you design the ‘perfect’ solution) - it is not a viable solution without the support and belief and backing of the key stakeholders involved. \n\n
  • This begs the question - how involved?\nI think we’ve all experienced varying levels of stakeholder involvement across projects. \n\nOf course, some stakeholders prefer to be more involved than others.\n\nOn one extreme, you might have experienced stakeholders that are more passive. \nSome might think this is a blessing - it could be a notion for trust - after all, you’re the expert, you should be making the right decisions on their behalf, and isn’t this what we’re getting paid to do?\nWith these types of stakeholders, you’re often expected to present or even sell a solution to them.\n \nOn the other extreme, we have the client that is extremely active - super-keen to be involved in every decision made - to the nth degree - this can often feel frustrating - after all didn’t they hire you to be the expert? to help them make the right decisions?\n\nIt’s easy to think that the passive stakeholder is the easier stakeholder to manage. But is this really true?\n\n \n
  • This talk today is not going to try to answer this question - it’s more about raising the question and sharing with you some insights that can help us understand the benefits of stakeholder involvement.\n\nAnd this thinking arose when I was reading this great book by Dan Ariely called the Upside of Irrationality - which is a follow on book from the first - Predictably Irrational.\n\nAriely is a social scientist studying behavioural economics - and in his books he shares with us the illogical and irrational decisions we make in life - and how understanding them can provide some new perspectives. \n\nTwo key, related concepts that arise in his book that really struck a chord with me when thinking about irrational behaviours and the UX process: They’re called:\nThe IKEA effect and the Not Invented here bias\n
  • Ariely and team run several social experiments and in one experiment he used origami to help determine the answer to the question \nhow attached do we become to our own creations?\n\n\n
  • In the experiment, they looked at two conditions - a creator and a non-creator.\n\nThe creator was asked to create a paper crane or frog following a set of instructions. \nThey then were asked to bid for their creation against a computer - in a way that ensured that it was in his/her best interests to bid the highest amount they thought it was worth.\n\n
  • On average, creators bid 23 cents for their crappily folded paper animals.\n\nThey then asked some passers by - non-creators to bid on the same origami pieces again, against the computer. \n
  • These people on average bid only 5 cents.\n\nTo take the experiment a step further, and to rule out the possibility that the large degree of difference was due to the enjoyment of making the origami, they added professional origami pieces to the mix.\n\n\n
  • However, Non-creators bid an average of 27 cents for the professional origami.\n\nWhich is extremely interesting. The degree to which non-creators valued professional looking origami, was very close to the bids creators made on their own amateurish versions - and much higher than what non-creators bid on amateur art.\n\nIn essence - these initial experiments suggested that creators have a substantial bias when evaluating their own work.\n
  • But what happens when you take away all room for variation and customisation afforded by origami? \nIn further experiments along the same line, but this time with lego blocks.\n\nwhat they found was that even when you take away variation - even if all creations end up looking the same...\nCreators are still willing to pay more for their own work, despite the fact that their work was identical to the work made by other creators.\n
  • As Ariely puts it, the effort that the effort involved in the building process is a crucial ingredient int he process of falling in love with our own creations.\n
  • This effect was affectionately dubbed, the IKEA effect\n\n\n
  • In essence: We tend to overvalue the things we make - that we put effort into\n\n\n
  • What’s probably most interesting about this however, is that further experiments showed that most of us are largely unaware of this tendency \n- we mistakenly think others love our work as much as we do.\n
  • This lead Ariely to look into another similar concept called the not-invented-here bias - which focuses on the question: \nWhy do we become attached to our own ideas? \n
  • The not-invented-here bias, is the notion that: “If I didn’t invent it, it’s not worth much”\n\nThis experiment conducted focused on idea generation, and the value the participant placed on ideas generated. \n\n6 problems were posed to the participants - with the first three problems - solutions were provided (that they didn't create, i.e. non-creators), for which they were asked to evaluate \nlast three problems they were asked to create solutions, and then evaluate them (creators)\n\nevaluated on practicality and probability of success\non how much of their own time and money they would donate to promote the solution\n
  • For example:\nThe most interesting part of this experiment was though they let participants "come up" with solutions on their own, they wanted these solutions to be the exact same solutions they dictated.\n
  • they did this by giving participants a list of 50 words, and told them to come up with solutions using only these words.\n\nEven though the idea was driven by this list of 50 words, it was sufficient enough for the participants to feel like the solution was their own, and then to overvalue it.\n\n\n
  • they even tweaked the experiment further to see how far they could push this notion.\n\neven when a solution was provided with words jumbled, and they asked the participants to reorder the words to come up with a solution.\n\n\n\n\n
  • Even this was sufficient for participants to feel ownership over the idea. \n\n\n
  • Once we feel we have created something, we feel an increased sense of ownership - and we begin to overvalue the usefuleness and importance of our own ideas more than ideas that we perceive to not be our own.\n\nBut what’s most important about this bias, is that the smallest amount of involvement, and sense of ownership, or perceived notion of “coming up with the idea”, can cause this bias to occur.\n\n
  • \nAs mediators - we're the constantly trying to make sense of multiple information sources, and in particular, balancing personal opinions and hidden agendas from stakeholders with user needs and all sorts of other factors that can influence the outcome of the solution.\n\nI think that understanding these two cognitive biases can shed some light into how important stakeholder management and involvement really is.\n
  • The notion of fingerprinting - involving stakeholders early, and often, can be a very powerful tool in fostering feelings of ownership \n- especially important when the stakeholders you have access to need to sell your solution further up the chain. \nThey can become your internal advocates.\n
  • Good Mediation/facilitation skills is crucial to the UX role - understanding why stakeholders may discount your good ideas in favour of their own internally developed ideas can help us recognise when we might need to adjust our tactics when managing stakeholders.\n
  • 3. Recognising our own cognitive biases can help us:\n- use processes and techniques that help us avoid early attachment to our own ideas, such as sketching. workshopping directly with stakeholders to provide a platform for their ideas to be heard.\n- understand the value of collaboration\nthat we too are susceptible to thinking our ideas are the best ideas. but as practitioners its important to acknowledge the best ideas can come from anywhere. and the best ideas are often a result of true collaboration.\n\n\n
  • Thanks everyone for listening.\n

Transcript

  • 1. The upside ofstakeholderinvolvementSheryl SooPrincipal UX Architect, Massive Interactivesheryl.soo@massiveinteractive.com @sherylyulin
  • 2. As UX practitionerswe are...
  • 3. As UX practitionerswe are... mediators
  • 4. How involved should stakeholders get in the UX process?
  • 5. How can understanding our irrational behaviours help usunderstand the importance of stakeholder involvement? © fmg2001
  • 6. How attached do we become to our own creations?© Furya
  • 7. How attached do we become to our own creations? CREATOR NON-CREATOR© Furya
  • 8. How attached do we become to our own creations? CREATOR 23 cents NON-CREATOR© Furya
  • 9. How attached do we become to our own creations? CREATOR 23 cents NON-CREATOR 5 cents© Furya
  • 10. How attached do we become to our own creations? CREATOR 23 cents NON-CREATOR 5 cents 27 cents for professional origami© Furya
  • 11. Even if you take away all room for variation...© Dave Catchpole
  • 12. Even if you take away all room for variation... “Effort involved in the building process is a crucial ingredient in the process of falling in love with our own creations.”© Dave Catchpole
  • 13. The Effect© Stan1ey
  • 14. The Effect We tend to overvalue the things we make - the things we put effort into© Stan1ey
  • 15. The Effect We tend to overvalue the things we make - the things we put effort into We assume others share our biased perspective
  • 16. Why do we become attached to our own ideas?© Julian Santacruz
  • 17. Why do we become attached to our own ideas? “If I (or we) didn’t invent it, it’s not worth much”© Julian Santacruz
  • 18. How can communities reduce the amount of water they use without imposing tough restrictions?
  • 19. How can communities reduce the amount of water they use without imposing tough restrictions?
  • 20. How can communities reduce the amount of water they use without imposing tough restrictions? lawns drains using gray recycled recovered water household water
  • 21. How can communities reduce the amount of water they use without imposing tough restrictions?Water lawns using recycled gray water recovered from household drains
  • 22. The Not-Invented-Here BiasOnce we feel we have created something, wefeel an increased sense of ownership - and webegin to overvalue the usefulness andimportance of our own ideas more than ideasthat are perceived as not ours.
  • 23. What does this all have to do with stakeholder involvement?
  • 24. What does this all have to do with stakeholder involvement? 1. Fingerprinting: fostering feelings of ownership is a very powerful tool.
  • 25. What does this all have to do with stakeholder involvement? 2. Adjust your tactics
  • 26. What does this all have to do with stakeholder involvement? 3. Recognise our own cognitive biases
  • 27. Thanks for listening! @sherylyulin