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Stakeholder interview template

Automatically transcribe and analyze your interviews

This template guides you through analyzing stakeholder interviews to capture insights that create actionable findings and drive alignment in your business.

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Last updated

26 May 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team


When determining and measuring the success of any product, company initiative, or strategic business move, you'll want to rely on the feedback from valued stakeholders.

Stakeholders have a vested interest in achieving success, and they'll be great sources of inspiration, improvements, and suggestions. But how do you go about soliciting stakeholder sentiments and applying those insights to your efforts? 

Stakeholder interviews are an efficient and effective method, and to assist you, stakeholder interview templates are the best tools for the job. Learn everything you need to know about stakeholder interview templates and processes so you can keep your valued members involved in your projects and progress.

What are stakeholder interviews?

Stakeholder interviews aren't merely one-to-one casual conversations about business topics. Instead, think of them as precise communications intended to inform stakeholders about specific projects, challenges, or initiatives. These members have a vested interest in achieving success. 

The purpose of these interview questions is to discover stakeholders' perspectives and insights. As you embark on facilitating your efforts and projects, you need these insights to ensure you continue to align with their goals and suggestions.

What is a stakeholder interview template?

Using a stakeholder interview template means creating a series of interview questions that you can then share with all applicable members equally. Maintain a consistent approach to your interviewing process by using a template that seeks to capture the same relevant perspectives and insights from everyone involved. 

Leveraging a stakeholder interview template also makes it easier for you to analyze the responses and sentiments and later apply improvements relating to those suggestions.

Stakeholder interview template

If you're new to the project or stakeholder interviews altogether, take a look at this template to familiarize yourself with the general structure and application. 

You'll want to provide key data and project details within your template, as well as planning documents. From there, you can assemble an outline and timeline for creating inquiries, gathering responses, prioritizing tasks, and sharing goal trajectories. 

Think of this template as your interview guide to ensure you don't overlook any key elements during the stakeholder engagement.

How to use a stakeholder interview template

Now that you’re familiar with what a stakeholder interview template might look like, you can begin to build out yours and implement it as part of your interview process. 

You can create templates for high and low-level stakeholders based on your organization or project. Keep the lines of questions consistent, seeking insightful and relevant responses that can improve and support your efforts. 

Ideally, you'll want to learn more about those you plan to include in your stakeholder interview process, so you can try to customize other aspects of your template accordingly. Each stakeholder will have unique experiences or insights. 

You should customize your interview process in a way that allows you to get specific to those unique perspectives while still providing all stakeholders with a consistent, broad-stroked effort.

When to conduct internal stakeholder interviews

Generally, anytime you have stakeholders to consider, every stage of your project or initiative can benefit from a stakeholder interview. For example, these engagements are important at the earliest stages of your project development, but they’re also necessary throughout your project duration, especially if additional insights and suggestions are needed. 

The earlier you begin interviewing, the better, since pre-project planning involves goals, priorities, and concerns that are best addressed first.

The benefits of interviewing stakeholders

When you implement stakeholder interviews as part of your project, you can expect to leverage a host of benefits. These are the primary reasons to start including them in your ongoing projects:

Define goals

Stakeholder interviews are mission-critical for establishing project goals. As the project facilitator or manager, you'll have goals that align with users and clients. But your stakeholders will likely outline goals for the company and its needs. 

You'll also need to be able to define "success" in terms of stakeholder perspectives, as well as your team's. Stakeholder interviews can provide the insights needed to move forward with your initiatives in a way that continues to support all goals and objectives.

Understand limitations, user needs, and assumptions

Stakeholder interviews and the stakeholder interview templates you use are great tools for establishing project context, history, and known constraints. Having discussions with vested parties can provide insights into established assumptions and limitations. They will also be great for discussing new and emerging solutions or innovations that benefit the project.

Earn trust and buy-in

Stakeholder interviews are ideal conversations for laying the groundwork for project expectations. Level with your members about challenges and obstacles, and transparency will foster trust. 

It also encourages stakeholder buy-in, especially when their opinions and sentiments are included and valued in your project. They'll be less likely to object or be concerned if they're properly introduced to the project and its entire scope upfront.

Are there drawbacks to stakeholder interviews?

Stakeholder interviews do require more work and effort to properly facilitate and execute. And there are other potential setbacks to consider when adding these interviews to your regular processes:

They take time

Depending on how many stakeholders your company or project has, you'll need to allocate enough time to effectively interview everyone and diligently follow your stakeholder interview template. There will also be improvements or potential changes to consider in product development, which could move back critical project deadlines. 

Overall, proper execution from start to finish can take significant time that may postpone all of your project timelines.

Some stakeholders don't want to participate

Not all stakeholders will have time or be interested in sitting down with you for an interview about certain projects. While you can skip those not interested in participating, you'll still have to worry about their input later in the project's development. Because you won't be able to review the details and history with them, they may object later on, looking for accountability or updates.

They create expectations

Mapping out your project with stakeholders during an interview is intended to help manage expectations. But it can also set expectations that may present a setback further into the project. New challenges may arise that weren't part of your original conversation. And those will require explanations and stakeholder updates since they fall outside those initial interview topics.

How to conduct stakeholder interviews

With your stakeholder interview templates in hand, you can start scheduling and having these essential conversations. 

It's equally important to be prepared for the interview process itself, making sure you cover every necessary detail and project element. Get your audio and video equipment ready to capture every moment. Then add these steps to your preparation process to hit a home run in every interview:

1. Clarify your own research goals

Go into the interview prepared to ask about the stakeholders' goals and objectives. You'll also need to have researched and prepared your own roster of goals to share with them. 

Again, you're looking to meet goals that might align with project users, clients, or internal staff efficiencies. Be prepared to discuss those as you inquire about your stakeholders' goals for the company with more focus on brand and business-centric objectives.

2. Identify stakeholders

Create and verify your list of stakeholders to interview. Connect with each and confirm their agreement to participate. Show them you're enthusiastic about sharing the project details, and clarify the importance of securing their feedback for project success.

3. Define your budget, timeline, and interview schedule

It's important to allocate enough time to dedicate a schedule to your interview process. Also, be mindful of any budget considerations. 

When tentatively scheduling your stakeholder interviews, consider any holidays or other projects that might require your time (or theirs). Ideally, you'll select a time that allows for the seamless execution of all interviews and post-analytics review.

4. Create a discussion guide

Consider creating a moderator guide as part of your stakeholder interview template. Use it as an outline to help you cover research questions, participant instructions, and project-related tasks. It’ll help you remain focused should your conversations stray too far from the purpose.

5. Prepare for the interview

Starting with the high-level topics, start preparing additional questions and discussion points to include in your stakeholder interviews. For example, your stakeholder interview template might include segments of questioning about defining success metrics. 

You can use this pre-interview prep time to carve out any customized questions relating to success. Moreover, you'll also have other inquiry questions relating to identifying priorities, discussing history, sharing expertise, covering processes, and highlighting workflows.

6. Flex your interviewing skills

Go into each stakeholder interview with enthusiasm about your project and appreciation for the stakeholder's participation and feedback. The more you put into the discussion, the more you'll get out of it. Practice interviewing before sitting down with your stakeholders if you need to sharpen and flex your interviewing skills ahead of time.

Here are some interview tips:

Break the ice

Be sure to include an icebreaker that makes the conversation comfortable for your stakeholders to participate and engage with you authentically. Talk about small-talk topics as they relate to your stakeholder. Let the conversation flow naturally until reaching a pause, then jump into your template questionnaire.

Pay attention

Again, it's best to record your interviews and secure permission to do so. Doing so will be incredibly helpful and allow you to be a better listener and engage more freely with your stakeholder instead of frantically trying to take notes. 

During the interview process, focus on paying attention to the responses and acting on opportunities to dive deeper into other questions. Read both verbal and non-verbal cues for best results.

Be flexible and responsive

You have a template to follow for a reason. But don't feel obligated to go in order, especially if the conversation flows naturally into other lines of discussion. Be flexible and responsive to what your stakeholder wants to discuss. 

Remember that your template is a guide to ensure you cover all the hot topic questions, but how you get through those questions can be a natural conversation process.

Dig deeper

Use every available opportunity in the interview to dive deeper into any topics that you deem important. Let your stakeholders share their feedback and ask "why" to discover motives, knowledge, and expertise. 

The more insights they want to share, the more informed you'll be when tackling your project management efforts. Don't be afraid to dig for them.

Wrap it up

When you're done with your stakeholder interview template and feel your stakeholder has come to a natural conclusion point in sharing, it's time to officially end the interview. 

Thank them for their valuable insights and time. Remind them what your next steps will be in terms of applying their insights to your project oversight. And keep the lines of ongoing communication open should they think of other suggestions they'd like to share with you.

7. Transcribe your interviews

You can transcribe all those interview videos quickly and easily with Dovetail. You can then assimilate those valued stakeholder responses into the various team communications and project management software. 

Check out Dovetail’s video transcription solution for quick and easy transfer of all your stakeholder interviews. Implementing stakeholder feedback can be more efficient when you have a great transcription tool at your fingertips.

8. Analyze, synthesize, and share your findings

With all your relevant interview sentiments transcribed, you can then move forward with analyzing the responses. Highlight and tag your recordings and transcripts so you can sort and filter through your findings. Spot similarities and discover new findings that translate to precise project management tasks for you and your teams. 

Synthesize and share your findings with everyone involved so you can efficiently implement all the stakeholder feedback.

Examples of stakeholder interview questions

Review the following stakeholder interview questions for inspiration and adopt variations that make sense for your organization and project. For the best responses and most engaging dialogue, keep the questions open-ended. Look for additional opportunities to inquire further with each, and be mindful of the sentiments and responses given.

  • Describe the purpose of this project in your own words.

  • What's the most important aspect of the project for us to get right?

  • How would you characterize the target audience?

  • If you could ask users one thing, what would it be?

  • How will you know if this is successful?

  • Do you have specific goals you're trying to achieve or metrics you're tracking?

  • What does success look like (definition) for you and your team? (For the year, quarter, half year, etc.)

  • What challenges or business issues are currently top priorities for you and your team?

  • I'm currently working on the ABC project. Do you have any specific insights you'd like to share related to those efforts?

  • Can you share any constraints related to the work I'm doing that you think would be important for me to know?

  • I'm prepared to address these challenges. Do you anticipate any additional challenges or have suggestions that can better prepare us to achieve project success?

  • Can you tell me about any solutions to this problem or similar projects you've tried before? (Technical, process, people-related, and so on?) How did it turn out? Why do you think it succeeded or missed the mark?

  • What is your ideal level of engagement in the project moving forward?

  • What is your preferred communication method?

  • Are there any other project details or insights that would be beneficial for my team to know?

  • Do you have additional project-related questions for me?

Automatically transcribe and analyze your interviews

This template guides you through analyzing stakeholder interviews to capture insights that create actionable findings and drive alignment in your business.

Use template


How do you prepare for a stakeholder interview?

Assemble the materials needed, including the stakeholder interview template questionnaires, recording devices, and notetaking essentials. Clear and establish your schedule and timelines. Select your stakeholders and schedule interviews.

How do you structure a stakeholder interview question?

Prompt your questions in such a way that allows for deeper dives and further explanations. Avoid brief, one-answer questions. And always look for opportunities to ask "why" for clarification.

How do you impress in a stakeholder interview?

Build great rapport upfront and keep it conversational. Offer your insights and ideas and lead into inquiring about their perspectives and insights. Be enthusiastic about the project and grateful for stakeholder participation.

How to deal with a difficult stakeholder interview question?

Some questions might create difficult stakeholder responses. Don't let challenging conversations derail your enthusiasm. Be open-minded and flexible, asking for further insights and additional suggestions stakeholders might have to solve the pain points in question.

What is the key difference between a user interview and a stakeholder interview?

A user interview will determine the preferences and sentiments from a user's perspective. A stakeholder interview will reveal insights and details from a company-focused standpoint and objective.

Start implementing a stakeholder interview into your project development process. Keep these insights handy to guide your efforts and create a great stakeholder interview template you can use for consistent results every time. And with your stakeholders' input, you can move forward with your project with the confidence that you have all the insights needed from all key members for successful execution.

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