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Mission Possible: Stakeholder Alignment

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In content strategy, it can be a huge struggle getting everyone working from the same playbook. Why are we creating this content? Who is it for? Who is accountable for its success? To get to stakeholder alignment, we don’t need to rely solely on our persuasive powers. There are tools that can help groups set individual agendas aside and focus on building shared standards and strategy. Kristina shares her own methods for getting people on the same page in any project or team setting.

Presented at An Event Apart in Denver, December 2017

Published in: Business

Mission Possible: Stakeholder Alignment

  1. 1. STAKEHOLDER ALIGNMENT MISSION POSSIBLE: KRISTINA HALVORSON, CEO BRAIN TRAFFIC AUTHOR, _CONTENT STRATEGY FOR THE WEB_ @HALVORSON
  2. 2. WHAT IS ALIGNMENT?
  3. 3. AGREEMENT OR COOPERATION AMONG A GROUP WITH A COMMON CAUSE. Dictionary.com WHAT IS ALIGNMENT?
  4. 4. A POSITION OF AGREEMENT OR ALLIANCE. Oxford English Dictionary WHAT IS ALIGNMENT?
  5. 5. COOPERATION ALLIANCE AGREEMENT
  6. 6. CONFLICT
  7. 7. ALIGNMENT HAPPENS BEFORE CONFLICT.
  8. 8. DON’T STOP ALIGNING http://mor10.com/web-design-process-supporting-links-wordcamp-seattle-2014-talk/
  9. 9. 1 : PREPARATION
  10. 10. “MANAGEMENT OF DIFFERENCES” BY SCHMIDT AND TANNENBAUM ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts ALIGN ON…4 PRIMARY REASONS FOR CONFLICT ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts
  11. 11. 1. Deliver WOW through service 2. Embrace and drive change 3. Create fun and a little weirdness 4. Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded 5. Pursue growth and learning
  12. 12. 1. Deliver WOW with user- centered design 2. Embrace feedback and drive change 3. Create fun and a little weirdness 4. More builds, less angst
  13. 13. ALIGN ON… AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: GOALS ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts
  14. 14. We will launch a fully responsive website that engages our target audiences and provides the foundation for rapid cross-platform innovation. AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: GOALS GOALA BAD GOAL 👎
  15. 15. S pecific M easurable A ttainable R elevant T ime-framed Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-framed
  16. 16. A BETTER GOAL AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: GOALS 👍 By end of Q4 2018, we will launch a new website that: ‣ is fully responsive ‣ meets our new brand standards (due Q4 2017) ‣ meets usability testing requirements based on user- centered design principles
  17. 17. GOALS FIRST. REQUIREMENTS LATER.
  18. 18. AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: METHODS ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts ALIGN ON…
  19. 19. AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: METHODS DECIDING ABOUT DECISION-MAKING ▸ How do we make decisions? ▸ Who gets to decide? ▸ What are the relevant facts? ▸ How will we confirm those facts? ▸ What assumptions are we okay to move forward with? ▸ How do we make decisions? ▸ Who gets to decide? ▸ What are the relevant facts? ▸ How will we confirm those facts? ▸ What assumptions are we okay to move forward with?
  20. 20. CONSENSUS COMMAND COUNCIL AD HOC
  21. 21. CONSENSUS COUNCIL AD HOC COMMANDSPEED OF DECISION-MAKING SUPER FAST! PAINFULLY SLOW STRENGTH & LONGEVITY OF SOLUTION NOT SO MUCH PRETTY SOLID
  22. 22. AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: ROLES ▸ Owner ▸ Sponsor ▸ Manager ▸ Product team ▸ SMEs ▸ Everyone else
  23. 23. R Responsible for completing the task A Accountable for delivering the work C Consulted about the work I Informed about the work
  24. 24. Content inventory Messaging Page tables Copywriting CONTENT STRATEGY I A A C EDITORIAL I R/A C C IA I I R C WRITER R C C R/A
  25. 25. Content inventory Messaging Page tables Copywriting SHELLY R/A C C I FRANK I R/A C A STEVE I I R/A I ALICIA I R I R
  26. 26. ALIGN ON… AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: METHODS ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Methods ▸ Facts
  27. 27. AS YOU PREPARE YOUR PROJECT: FACTS DECIDING ABOUT DECISION-MAKING ▸ How do we make decisions? ▸ Who gets to decide? ▸ What are the relevant facts? ▸ How will we confirm those facts? ▸ What assumptions are we okay to move forward with?
  28. 28. 2 : ASSESSMENT & ANALYSIS
  29. 29. ASSESSMENT VS. ANALYSIS THE ASSESSMENT ▸ Catalogs information ▸ Records observations ▸ Considers … ▸ Business objectives and constraints ▸ Audience goals ▸ Project environment
  30. 30. THE STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEW
  31. 31. Hello, As you know, Brain Traffic is working with our team on the content strategy for our upcoming website redesign. To help her prepare for your interview, the lead content strategist for the project, Kristina Halvorson, asked me to send the following questions to you: 1. What is your role at BigCompany? (title, manager, responsibilities) 2. What are your biggest concerns (or pain points) about today’s website? 3. What are the top three opportunities you see for our new website? Please forward your answers to kristina@braintraffic.com no later than 5:00pm CT mm/dd. Thanks! Action required: reply due by mm/dd Project.Owner@BigCompany.com
  32. 32. “I know you have a lot on your mind, so here’s a quick refresh on…” ‣ Project goals ‣ Current status ‣ Why we need your help ‣ Post-interview plan
  33. 33. PERCEPTION VS. REALITY ▸ What do they think the problem is? ▸ Do they know all the pieces of relevant information? ▸ Do they accept or reject that information as true? ▸ How do they view their authority or power on this project? DOING ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS: THE INTERVIEW
  34. 34. BUSINESS OBJECTIVES BUSINESS CONSTRAINTS AUDIENCE GOALS PROJECT ENVIRONMENT
  35. 35. ▸ Pulls it all together ▸ Says what’s true ▸ Prioritizes what matters ▸ Is our foundation for upcoming design and build decisions THE ANALYSIS ASSESSMENT VS. ANALYSIS
  36. 36. SIGN-OFF FIRST. WIREFRAMES LATER.
  37. 37. 3 : STRATEGY
  38. 38. DIAGNOSIS + GUIDING PRINCIPLES + COHERENT SET OF ACTIONS STRATEGY
  39. 39. DIAGNOSIS = ANALYSIS ▸ Pulls it all together ▸ Says what’s true ▸ Prioritizes what matters ▸ Is our foundation for upcoming design and build decisions DESIGNING STRATEGY
  40. 40. ▸ Values ▸ Goals ▸ Purpose statement ▸ Prioritized audiences GUIDING PRINCIPLES DESIGNING STRATEGY
  41. 41. HEALTH CHECK: PROJECT GOALS DESIGNING STRATEGY: REVISITING GOALS By end of Q2 2017, we will launch a new website that: ‣ is fully responsive ‣ meets our new brand standards (due Q3 2016) ‣ meets usability testing requirements based on user- centered design principles ‣ makes do with our existing CMS
  42. 42. PURPOSE STATEMENT DESIGNING STRATEGY: REVISITING GOALS Our website exists to: ‣ Get sales leads ‣ Quickly connect priority audiences to the right BigCompany people ‣ Deliver 100% satisfaction in support services
  43. 43. PRIORITY AUDIENCES PRIORITIZED AUDIENCES
  44. 44. DIAGNOSIS + GUIDING PRINCIPLES + COHERENT SET OF ACTIONS __________________ STRATEGY DIAGNOSIS + GUIDING PRINCIPLES + COHERENT SET OF ACTIONS __________________ STRATEGY
  45. 45. 4 : DESIGN & BUILD
  46. 46. DESIGN ARTIFACTS ▸ Design for your user and the task. ▸ Be consistent. ▸ Use simple and natural dialogue. ▸ Reduce unnecessary mental effort by the user. ▸ Provide adequate feedback. ▸ Provide adequate navigation mechanisms. KEY PRINCIPLES OF USER CENTERED DESIGN
  47. 47. KRISTINA, WE ARE GOING TO NEED A LOT MORE CONTENT, WHERE SHOULD WE GET IT. Everyone DESIGN & BUILD: RECEIVING FEEDBACK
  48. 48. DO NOT DEFEND. DO NOT DEFLECT.
  49. 49. THE PLAN, SHE CHANGES. DESIGN & BUILD: REMEMBER HOW YOU SIGNED OFF ON THIS REMEMBER? ▸ Values – Here’s what shapes our products and process. ▸ Goals – How are our goals holding up? ▸ Methods – Where do we need to shift gears? ▸ Facts – What has come up that is relevant to our goals? ▸ Values – Here’s what shapes our products and process. ▸ Goals – Here’s what we’ll accomplish. ▸ Methods – Here’s how we’ll get it done. ▸ Facts – Here’s what we’ll base our decisions on.
  50. 50. SHOULD THE MIGHTY PYRAMID CRUMBLE…
  51. 51. MAINTAIN MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING ▸ Joint objectives ▸ Joint communication ▸ Joint resources ▸ Joint risks DESIGN & BUILD: KEEPING THE TEAM ALIGNED
  52. 52. Joint Objectives Joint Commitments Joint Resources Joint Risks Confused Implicit Unavailable Underestimated Clear Explicit Available Under Control Joint Objectives Joint Commitments Joint Resources Joint Risks
  53. 53. Objectives Contributions Resources Risks Commitments Describe concretely what should be achieved together, as a team. Describe individual contributions for reaching the objective. Describe the missing resources for you to fulfill your part. Describe what may prevent you from succeeding. Describe concrete commitments each participant takes towards the team (name, commits to, action, date).
  54. 54. SIGN-OFF! WE HAVE SIGN-OFF!
  55. 55. 5 : LAUNCH & BEYOND
  56. 56. LAUNCH & BEYOND: STAY THE COURSE ▸ Values – Here’s what shapes our product and process. ▸ Goals – Here’s what we will accomplish—or already did. ▸ Methods – Here’s how we’re getting it done. ▸ Facts – Here’s what we’re basing our decisions on. WE WILL MAKE A NOTE OF IT. ALSO—
  57. 57. LAUNCH & BEYOND: DO MORE, DO BETTER ▸ Values – Here’s what shapes our product and process. ▸ Goals – Here’s what we’ll accomplish. ▸ Methods – Here’s how we’re getting it done. ▸ Facts – Here’s what we’re basing our decisions on. THE NEVER-ENDING PUSH ▸ Values – Here’s what shapes our product and process. ▸ Goals – What’s next, and why? ▸ Methods – How can we do things better, together? ▸ Facts – What’s new? What’s changed? What’s exciting?
  58. 58. OBSTACLE OPPORTUNITY
  59. 59. ALIGNMENT IS A PROCESS.
  60. 60. ALIGNMENT IS CREATED. ALIGNMENT IS CREATIVE. ALIGNMENT IS CONSTANT. ALIGNMENT IS AWESOME.
  61. 61. THANK YOUKRISTINA@BRAINTRAFFIC.COM 👍

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