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Sick Design: Missing Decider

Sick Design: Absentium Stakeholdus

(Latin: “Missing Decider”)

Well, our main stakeholder really wanted to be in this meeting, but he’s currently in the hallway of his 12-year-old’s school for the dance recital he’s supposed to be watching. I’m sure if we just describe what’s on the screen he’ll be able to give valuable feedback through text messages! When you have a missing decider you just roll with it!

COMMON SYMPTOMS: 

CAUSES: 

  • Confusing absence with trust
  • Designers not holding stakeholders accountable
  • Overreliance on technology 
  • Big reveals instead frequent check-ins

TREATMENTS:

Nobody enjoys wasting time and effort, which is one of the reasons frequent check-ins are crucial to your team. Designers grow frustrated when they go far down a path only to have someone not on the project tell them it’s the completely wrong direction.   Or that someone on the project team can’t make decisions. In order for these check-ins to be valuable, the main point of contact, or POC, should be present each and every time. 

A Point of Contact Eliminates a Missing Decider

A POC speaks on behalf of the client. They can either be the main stakeholder or someone who has the authority to speak in the stakeholder’s absence. They are responsible for accurately and effectively communicating the client’s feedback to your team. 

A meeting can’t truly be productive if a POC or main stakeholder is missing. Without their buy in, time can be wasted pursuing solutions that are not in alignment with their goals. 

Instant messaging and video chat can help. But it’s critical that the stakeholders see the work directly. You can be lost to interpretation if the work is merely described to them. 

We use our internal tool Notable to do this, as well as others like Figma. So that stakeholders can access the work from anywhere, on any device. When there’s data to share, our survey platform Helio provides easily shared links and infinite Viewer accounts, so the most important team members can be easily kept in the loop.