Designers are sometimes asked to join projects when they are already being developed. Our skills are needed to polish them and make them nice.
When this happens, you will most likely get the project specification alongside other resources you should use. But is it enough? To truly understand the project you need to be proactive and get stakeholders involved.
stakeholder |ˈsteɪkhəʊldə| - a person with an interest or concern in something.
What are the benefits?
You will understand the project better
And prevent misunderstandings from happening. The specification is usually enough to get you started, yet there is often far more than meets the eye. What is the story behind the project? What problems the team has solved already, and how? This type of questions will help you to approach the problem from the right perspective.
Stakeholders feel involved from the start
And they are usually glad that they are. They will tell you about the pros of using the product, what are the weak points. This way you know what to focus on. When it later comes down to presenting your designs and stakeholders are not liking it. It gives you essential negotiation leverage. It also makes them more open to unconventional design solutions.
Feeling of mutual trust
From my experience, they often mention the interview helped them sort their thoughts. It is beneficial for both parties involved, it helps to establish a good working relationship, and you both leave the meeting with a mutual feeling of trust.
What you should ask about?
There is no one solution fits all. There will always be more questions based on responses you get, but these should help you started:
- What is the current state of the project?
- What was the biggest struggle the project went through?
- What is the essential thing to get right?
- What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the product?