How to Get Buy-In From Stakeholders

Project Management Tips
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Poor stakeholder / project manager alignment is a leading cause of project failure. In fact, a study found that only 55% of people involved in projects feel that the project’s business objectives are clear to them.

A successful organizational project to adopt new technology will have goals, metrics, people involved in the decision-making process and effective communication that ties the project to the organization’s mission, vision and values. In addition, one of the most important aspects of effective project management is to obtain buy-in from stakeholders within the organization.

Stakeholders may differ from project to project, but they are the members of your staff who your project will affect. These are the people you need to engage with and invite representatives to become a part of your project management team. Because stakeholders will provide unique insight that can help shape and successfully implement a project.

A project manager needs to identify his allies and his enemies and then develop strategies for dealing with them. Work out who wants you to succeed, and who does not. Then find out what are their success criteria and their fears by talking and listening to them.”
Martin Webster, Leadership and Project Management Blogger

Where should a project leader start when an organization is looking to adopt new technology? At the beginning, of course! And the first thing to do is to conduct some background research. 

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Assess Your Organizational Culture

As you conduct your needs assessment to identify gaps and opportunities, also consider the culture of your organization and how ready it may be for change.

If you are faced with a need to change your organization’s technology, start by researching your organization’s answer to the question, “Are we ready for this change?” This answer will include information to assist you in deciding whether to proceed with the change, how to address risks and indicate which resources will be most valuable.

Drafting a Scope of Work (SOW) is the next step. This functional description is often written as a one-page brief that addresses the parameters of the project. The “who” portion of your SOW will define the stakeholders of your project. 

Identify Stakeholders 

As you identify all stakeholders who will have a vested interest in your proposed organizational change, invite key stakeholder groups to nominate a representative to join your project management team.

Be sure to include a member of your leadership team to be an executive sponsor of your project. Your executive sponsor will be essential in helping to remove any roadblocks on your project management journey and will assist you in directing the project team with organizational strategic decisions. 

Activate Stakeholders 

Design a project plan and schedule regular meetings and check-ins for your team. Be sure to set meeting rules and encourage a safe space where ideas and discussion are welcome. Include opportunities for stakeholders to collect data or share experiences.

When you take the time to actively listen to your stakeholders, they will understand that their opinions are valued. This creates deeper buy-in for these key members who will in turn, discuss the progress of the project with their stakeholder colleagues throughout the organization. 

Track and Measure Your Progress 

While there are a variety of tools and methods to track and measure your progress, it’s important to set milestones within your project plan and celebrate progress with your organization. Even small milestones are an opportunity to communicate your progress and encourage your organizational stakeholders to be ready for change and quickly adopt your new technology as it is implemented.

If there are opportunities for stakeholders to be a part of a beta test group for your new technology, find some willing recruits! Empower your stakeholders to become active participants. These eager staff members are up for a challenge and their feedback could be valuable to your project. 

Provide Clear Communication to Your Entire Staff with Regular Updates 

Involving stakeholders in organization-wide trainings and communications will promote buy-in for your project. Be sure to keep your stakeholders motivated to stay involved and promote goodwill toward continued organizational change as you implement your new technology.

In addition, change management experts emphasize the importance of engaging stakeholders in a way that maximizes stakeholder contributions.

Tailor communications based on stakeholder needs. For instance, Gordon Flesch Company (GFC) will send a dedicated training team to a client’s location. They will provide in-person training designed for the target audience and their newly chosen technology. Additional resources are also available, if needed.

Getting buy-in from your stakeholders can be beneficial both for the implementation of your new technology and for your organization’s culture. Are you ready?

Wondering if your business technology is effectively meeting the needs of your organization? Contact the experts at Gordon Flesch Company to schedule a free, no-obligation needs assessment. 

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