The importance of stakeholder involvement
We’ve been busy planning the work for our Teaching Innovation Award – Systems Validation and Verification Test Rig.
For us, the most important first step has been identifying key stakeholders for the project and making sure that we have good plans in place to involve them.
The two main groups identified are staff and students. From experience of similar projects, we’ve found one of the best ways to engage with students is to involve them in the project. To that end, we’re using some of the project funding to employ one of our Undergraduate students to work on the project. Their work has a direct, positive influence on the project, and also makes engaging with other students easier. If you’re working on similar projects, don’t underestimate the importance and value of student involvement.
We identified a range of staff representatives who represent different interests and influences for the project. This includes academic members of staff who will benefit from the outputs of the work, technical experts for guidance on implementation, people with experience of similar projects and representatives from different Schools to enable us to consider transferability of outputs.
We kicked the project off with the first of these stakeholder meetings. At that meeting, we started to identify requirements for the project and highlighted some key areas that we need to keep in mind as the project progresses. We will keep up communication with the stakeholders throughout the project, especially during ongoing testing. It is important that this is not a one time information gathering task. The stakeholders may change as the project progresses, their opinions will vary and they will have different ideas. We need to understand these changes and what impact they could have on the delivery and acceptance of the project outputs.