When beginning new problems, part of the problem, frankly, is associated with the stakeholders. If you can’t get stakeholders to agree to your project, it’ll be an uphill battle to get it done. However, if you can address the three items discussed in this article, you can shorten your purchase timeline.
Different stakeholders exist in all sorts of projects. Most of the time, projects don’t have instant agreement. Aligning stakeholders helps you get this level of agreement needed. You need to specifically identify who is involved in the project so that the purchase timeline can be shortened. It’s not enough to say, “I need someone from IT to support this.” You need to know specific information. Once you have this list, determine the type of stakeholder they are. For example, you need to know if they’re a sponsor, financial decision maker, strategic decision maker, champion, derailer, influencer, or implementer. It’s important to remember that one person can be in multiple categories.
You don’t want to simply get your stakeholders to agree to what you want. You want them to be involved. You want to feel invested and commit themselves to increasing the likelihood of success. Some stakeholders have a greater need in feeling involved, but everyone must be involved at some level, even if it’s just getting updates on progress and objectives. Thus, you’ll need to meet the needs of the stakeholders. Objections are often actually concerns held by the speaker. So, if you know more about this information from your stakeholders, you can resolve the problems. As a result, you need to cultivate an enhanced understanding with members of your team to avoid surprises later down the road. You also need to remember that needs and requirements change with time, so you’ll need to reassess periodically. This boils down to communication. You have to know what your stakeholders care about and you need to deliver messages that resonate with them. Your conversations must address what’s important to that stakeholder or group.
Since you’ve aligned your stakeholders, you need their buy-in. To get that, you need to get them ready to embrace change, which is a critical element of all organizations. Change affects everyone, so you’ll likely need to tread carefully to get the support of your stakeholders. Obviously, you know who they are, but if you still don’t, you need to find out. Then, communicate with different groups about benefits and barriers and get their thoughts. You might find out information that can help you resolve the issue. This communication will also help you identify what your stakeholders need and require to approve the project. This will help you be sure that you’ve addressed all problems associated with the stakeholders, which will show that you care about what stakeholders want and need, making it more likely that you’ll get their support and buy-in.
So, assess the ‘buy-in level’ of your stakeholders. This, as you have probably guessed, involves communication. Surveys are a great way to assess the buy-in level. It will also be beneficial because you’ll get information about concerns and resistance to the project. It’s also a good idea to find out what broad requirements are held by your stakeholders. Your communications need to be tailored for each stakeholder group so that you can be sure to have effective communication regarding the change effect for each group.
Engage with the stakeholders on different levels. It’s important to target communication to help them understand why the change is needed and what benefits will arise. Once this information is known, stakeholders will come to believe that the change is the best for the company and themselves, making it more likely that they’ll accept it. Finally, the change is brought to fruition by competency. A good strategy is to identify at least one person that is in senior management
If you’ve got support from senior management, your project is more likely to be successful. If there’s lack of support on this level, it can be because of the pressure they’re under with all their responsibilities and don’t have time to commit to the project. However, buy-in from this level is critical. Without it, you’re less likely to have a successful project.
Understanding and Removing Barriers to Success
Understanding and removing barriers to success is part of risk management. You need to know who cares about the project, what these people care about, and what you’re going to do to ensure the success of your project. So, you need to know who cares. You can only manage those stakeholders that you’re aware of. Since you’ve already aligned your stakeholders and gotten buy-in, you need to know what to do to remove barriers to success. Make sure you’ve accounted for all ‘hidden’ stakeholders though. These individuals can be wild cards, which can be problematic to success for your project.
This means you have to quantify the risk, or how much the stakeholder cares about the project. This helps you determine how much this individual can impact the success of how the project. Once you know why the stakeholder is a hindrance to success, you can work to address the issues. Knowing the problems gives you an opportunity to resolve them and remove barriers to success. The more you know about the stakeholders, the better you can create plans that will reduce barriers to success and speed up the process.
Communication is key in this stage because, without communication, you will have trouble overcoming barriers to success. Since technology has advanced so much, there are increased opportunities to have effective communication, which can eliminate, or at least reduce, many barriers that are faced when trying to develop effective processes.
There’s a lot discussed here, but the crux of the message is simple: If you need to speed up your purchase process, you need to know your stakeholders and be willing to communicate with them in an effective manner in order to meet their expectations. If you want to know more, contact us.