7 Tips To Get Internal Stakeholder Buy-in for a New IT Project
By Rachel Stidworthy
Picture the scene: You have identified a hole in your IT capabilities and start researching possible solutions. The outcome is positive with a couple of front-runners, both of which will greatly improve the IT department, and business as a whole. Now all you need is commitment from your internal stakeholders to pursue this new avenue. For many IT managers this is a hurdle which is often too big to overcome – internal stakeholders fail to fully engage and the project is never implemented.
But that doesn’t mean your new project is destined to fail. At MSM Software we have helped many clients overcome this issue by building a business case which provides all internal stakeholders with the information they need to commit to a project. If you find yourself in the same situation these top tips will help you achieve buy in.
7 top tips to achieve buy-in for a new IT project
- Ensure you include all internal stakeholders in the process. All too commonly the focus goes straight to the budget holder but you also need to consider the end user and those who will be involved with the integration and on-going maintenance. Ultimately, the more involved someone feels, the more they will invest in an idea.
Speak the language of each stakeholder group. The budget holder will want to know very different information than the end user, so ensure their unique needs and concerns are addressed. Avoid using jargon and acronyms if they aren’t required.
Engage as early as possible. The earlier you engage the earlier you can address stakeholder needs and concerns. Early engagement can also counteract the fear of change, which can often lead to objection. After all, it’s only natural for people to take exception to something when they have been excluded from the process.
Give a clear rationale for the project. Define the project goals and scope clearly. The rationale should provide a clear understanding of the reasons why the project is required. It should include background information about the current situation, including the project drivers and challenges, and what the likely benefit would be. Any business case should always be put into the context of the overall strategy and goals of the company – without this your project is unlikely to gain approval from decision makers.
Be explicit about the benefits. Clearly identify each of the benefits and ensure they can be measured in quantifiable terms so improvements can be assessed after the project has been completed. Remember, negative benefits can be as powerful as positive benefits. These would outline the impact if a project isn’t completed, for example, reduced market opportunity due to poor data quality.
Identify and manage risks. It is crucial that any risks are controlled and contained if a project is to have any chance of success. A summary of the key risks facing the project will ensure that, if they happen, they will be properly managed and not affect the delivery of the project. Assessing risk will also demonstrate to senior management that you have considered this project from all angles and have strategies in place to overcome any potential challenges.
Listen and communicate. If you are going to take the time to ask stakeholders for their opinions make sure they know their comments and suggestions are valued. Provide feedback and keep everyone up-to-date throughout the entire process.
Rachel Stidworthy is Marketing Executive at MSM Software, a UK based software support and development house.