100 Questions to Ask Stakeholders

Talking to stakeholders is like solving a puzzle. You’ve got all these pieces—like goals, challenges, and resources—and you’re trying to make them fit. Well, the best way to get the complete picture? Ask the right questions! 

Whether kicking off a project or looking to improve things, asking smart questions helps you get everyone on the same page and make better decisions. So, let’s dive in!

Project-Specific Questions

  1. What do you consider the top priorities for this project?
  2. Are there any specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) we should focus on?
  3. What’s the most critical part of the project?
  4. What challenges do you anticipate we might encounter?
  5. How does this project align with your department’s goals?
  6. What deadlines are we working against?
  7. How flexible is the budget for this project?
  8. Who else should be involved in this project?
  9. What technology will we use?
  10. How will you define success for this project?
  11. Is there a contingency plan if things don’t go as planned?
  12. Are there any deliverables you expect outside of the project scope?
  13. What kind of staffing will we need for this project?
  14. How do we allocate resources among different tasks?
  15. What training resources are available?
  16. How can sustainability be integrated into our current project?
  17. How does this project line up with company goals?
  18.  How do we handle confidential information?
  19. How do we handle changes to the project?
  20. Is there any upcoming event or date that could affect the project?
  21. What happens after the project is done?

About Needs And Expectations

  1. What are your non-negotiables for this project?
  2. What do you hope to achieve with this initiative?
  3. What can we do to exceed your expectations?
  4. What would you consider a “win” for our collaboration?
  5. What resources do you need from us for a successful outcome?
  6. How would you like to be involved in the project?
  7. What are your reporting and documentation requirements?
  8. How do you want us to handle any challenges that arise?
  9. What feedback mechanisms would you like to see?
  10. What skills and expertise do you expect from our team?

About Relationship-Building

  1. What can we do to make your life easier?
  2. How can we improve our working relationship?
  3. Are there any gaps in our service that we should address?
  4. How do you prefer to resolve conflicts or disagreements?
  5. How can we foster an environment of open communication and trust?
  6. Is there anyone else on your team we should get to know?
  7. What do you value most in a working relationship?
  8. How can we better align our strategies?
  9. What’s the best way to give you feedback?
  10. How open are you to innovation and new ideas?
  11. Are there opportunities for us to collaborate on future projects?
  12. How can we be more proactive in addressing your needs?
  13. Are there any gestures or actions that would make our partnership feel more valued?
  14. How can we integrate better with your team’s work culture and dynamics?
  15. How can we contribute to the personal and professional growth of members on both teams?
  16. What feedback do you have about our interactions so far?

About Decision-Making

  1. How do you prioritize competing projects or initiatives?
  2. What factors influence your decision-making process?
  3. Who are the final decision-makers for this project?
  4. Are there any deal-breakers we should be aware of?
  5. What additional data do you need for decision-making?
  6. How transparent should we be throughout the project?
  7. What will be the impact of this decision on other stakeholders?
  8. How quickly can you make decisions if we encounter issues?
  9. What’s the procedure for changing the project once it’s underway?
  10. What other departments or teams should we consult before making significant decisions?
  11. How can we better align our decision-making processes to complement yours?
  12. Are there any specific data points or metrics that heavily influence your choices?
  13. What are the short-term and long-term impacts you consider when making decisions?
  14. Are there any upcoming events or shifts in the company that could alter decision-making priorities?

About Risk Assessment

  1. What potential roadblocks should we prepare for?
  2. Are there any risks to this project that you’re particularly concerned about?
  3. What’s your biggest worry concerning this initiative?
  4. Do you foresee any issues with stakeholder alignment?
  5. Are there any legal or regulatory risks we should be aware of?
  6. What steps can we take to mitigate potential risks?
  7. Do we have a crisis management plan in place?
  8. How do you suggest we handle scope creep?
  9. Are there any reputational risks to consider?
  10. What is our fallback position if we encounter unforeseen obstacles?
  11. Are there any potential changes in the business environment that we should factor into our risk assessment?
  12. How would you like us to communicate if we identify potential risks mid-project?
  13. How can we ensure our risk management approach aligns with your company’s priorities?

About Process Improvement

  1. What processes are currently in place?
  2. What’s working well in our current processes?
  3. What’s not working?
  4. How could we be more efficient?
  5. Are there any bottlenecks?
  6. Is there any redundant work being done?
  7. How do we handle errors or mistakes?
  8. How do we maintain quality in our processes?
  9. Is there a need for automation?
  10. What’s the impact of the current processes on customer satisfaction?
  11. What training programs can improve our processes?
  12. How often should we review and update processes?
  13. Who should be involved in process improvement initiatives?
  14. How do we prioritize which processes to improve first?
  15. Do we need to update any guidelines or policies?
  16. How do we ensure the long-term sustainability of our process improvements?

About Legal And Compliance

  1. Are there any compliance standards we must adhere to?
  2. What legal considerations should we keep in mind?
  3. Is there a need for confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements?
  4. Are there any data security requirements?
  5. Do we need to consider any ethical guidelines?
  6. What are the audit requirements for this project?
  7. What documentation is necessary for compliance?
  8. Are there any sanctions for non-compliance?
  9. Do we need any special permits or approvals?
  10. What’s the process for legal vetting of project components?

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the stakeholders?

Stakeholders are people or groups with some interest in the project. They’re the ones who get affected by what the project does or how it turns out. Here’s a breakdown of some common types:

  • Team members: These are the folks doing the project’s work.
  • Management: These are the higher-ups in the company who make big decisions. They’re often the ones who approve the project in the first place.
  • Customers: These can be people who will use the product or service you’re working on or other businesses that will benefit from it.
  • Suppliers: These are companies or people who provide the materials, services, or other resources you need to carry out the project.
  • Investors: These are people or groups who have put money into either your project or your company. They’re interested in how profitable the project will be.
  • Local communities: Sometimes, a project affects the people who live or work nearby. They’re stakeholders, too.
  • Regulatory bodies: These are government groups that make rules you have to follow. If your project has to get approved by them, they’re stakeholders.

Each type of stakeholder has different needs and concerns, so it’s essential to keep all of them in mind as you work on your project.

Do stakeholders need to be experts to provide valuable feedback?

No, stakeholders don’t have to be experts. Sometimes, people who are new to the topic can offer fresh perspectives that experts might overlook. Every piece of feedback is a chance to learn something new.

How often should I communicate with stakeholders?

  • Regular updates: It’s good to keep in touch often. Maybe have a regular meeting, like once a month.
  • Key milestones: Whenever something significant is done or changes in the project, it’s a good time to talk.
  • Any time for feedback: Don’t just wait for meetings. If you need to know something, ask for feedback.

Why is it important to gather information from stakeholders?

  • Understanding needs: Gathering information from stakeholders helps you understand what they want and expect from the project. This sets the stage for meeting or even exceeding these expectations.
  • Decision-making: The input from stakeholders can provide critical insights that influence project decisions. It can show you things you might not have thought of yourself.
  • Building trust: When stakeholders feel heard, they’re more likely to trust you and the project team. This makes everything smoother as you go along.
  • Risk reduction: Stakeholders can point out risks or issues you may not be aware of. Early feedback can help you dodge big problems down the road.

How can stakeholder relationships be improved?

  • Regular communication: Keep stakeholders updated on project progress. Whether through monthly meetings or newsletters, frequent touchpoints make a big difference.
  • Transparency: Always be honest about the project’s status. If there are challenges, share them. People appreciate being in the know.
  • Active listening: When stakeholders speak, really listen. Then, show them that their feedback has been considered in the project.
  • Be responsive: When stakeholders have questions or concerns, respond promptly and respectfully.
  • Mutual goals: Remind stakeholders that everyone is working toward the same ultimate objective. This can help turn potential conflicts into opportunities for collaboration.

Conclusion

Questions are your best friends when it comes to understanding what stakeholders really want and need. And remember, the more you know, the smoother things will go. 

Keep those lines of communication open, and it will not only make your job easier but make everyone feel included. Here’s to successful projects and happy stakeholders!

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Robby is a multimedia editor at UpJourney with a journalism and communications background.

When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.