📜 Approach to Work #03 - Managing multiple stakeholders

Jun 20, 2024

Managing multiple stakeholders while trying to get the actual work done is insanely tough!

Let me tell you a quick story:

I joined a project with a really weird structure. I was the only designer in a team with four POs—one from the client side (Labelvie) and three from McKinsey. You can imagine how hard it was to get everyone on the same page.

Looking back, I think it was so difficult because:

  • We were all new and hadn't built trust yet.

  • The project was moving at a fast pace, and we didn't have time to get our faces away from the driving wheel.

  • We didn't do any testing or continuous research, so we spent a lot of time debating assumptions.

  • We didn't know how to communicate well with each other.


So what did I do ?
Team members did way more on their side too, this is just to highlight what can you do as a designer in a similar situation

  • I understood that I needed to give time for team members to trust me, so I tried to help as much as I could.

  • I set up 1:1s to talk about their goals, because if they reached their goals, I would reach mine too.

  • I tried to understand their perspective on what success looks like in this project (is it about shipping stuff, is it about impact, or a specific KPI?).

  • I learned about how they see product building and was surprised to find we actually had the same mindset (finding mutual ground).

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Especially in a complicated structure, communication is key in early-stage startups.

  • Even though the success of the project was important for all of us, each one had a specific perspective (Client/McKinsey/Labelvie), so I tried to understand each one and leverage that.

  • I learned to let go sometimes; not all battles are worth fighting.

On the design side:

  • I worked on documenting my thought process and found that going solo and then sharing my ideas was very helpful for moving faster.

  • I learned that making presentations isn't always a waste of time. On the contrary, it saves time when discussing designs.