14 Jun Engage the Business in Every – Yes, Every – Initiative
Successful projects all have one thing in common: They engage the proper business stakeholders early and often. The benefits of this are far-reaching – improved communication, stronger relationships, and increased overall buy-in. Yet, it’s all too common for the business to only be involved sporadically, at certain milestones – maybe just at the beginning, prior to implementation, or for small periods of time throughout. The truth is that projects that follow that model are often much less successful, struggling to meet deadlines, produce valued results, or to even reach the finish line.
Consider the following ways in which you can – and should – engage the business in an initiative.
This phase of a project is perhaps the most important when it comes to the involvement of the business. You should never develop a business case and determine the return for a project without engaging the right people from the business. The business stakeholders truly know what value is meaningful and how best to articulate and measure it.
Successful project management requires great communication. For a project to succeed, it is critical that you ensure that the right business stakeholders are committed to the team – and that they acknowledge and uphold that commitment. A high level of communication will ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities and that a data-driven decision can be made regarding their availability to participate. To that end, it is imperative that you provide appropriate tools for ongoing, structured communication with business stakeholders, allowing them to share any constraints and to escalate issues as needed.
The Optimization of Business Processes
You’d be surprised at how often this task is completed without in-depth involvement from the people closest to the work being done. But, those key players from the business who are directly involved in the process have the greatest level of insight into what’s working and what needs to be changed. Their firsthand feedback about delays and inefficiencies will provide bigger picture insight into end-to-end processes and enable your team to more effectively optimize.
To maximize the adoption of a new solution – which is the most important outcome – you need to select the right technology and provider. This process becomes easier when stakeholders from the business are directly involved in requirements definition, proposal review, vendor demonstrations, and solution scoring. By taking part in the process, they will have a vested interest in the outcome, which can help drive overall buy-in for the change and expedite assimilation.
When the development team operates in a silo, sharing their work with end users late in the process, the changes that result from feedback are more likely to be cumbersome – and expensive. Implementing a framework that will accelerate the feedback you receive from business stakeholders (e.g. Agile) reduces the number of changes late in the lifecycle, saving you time and money. This approach will also ensure that the development is continuously aligned with the goals of the business.
Risk identification and mitigation should be a shared responsibility. By engaging business stakeholders in the process, you’re able to broaden the scope of evaluation. As a result, you’re more likely to have a clear and comprehensive picture of the potential risks, and you can more appropriately manage them. This collaboration also drives a sense of partnership within the team, so that when problems do appear, there is less finger pointing and a shared sense of ownership.
At Navigate, we place a high value on the involvement of business stakeholders in almost everything we do. And it’s not always just the obvious stakeholders who need to be involved, it’s often the ones that are overlooked who offer the most insightful information. A Stakeholder Analysis at the beginning of a project can help you determine who should be involved in a project, how you should communicate with them, and any risks that should be considered.
The outcome of a project cannot be successful unless you plan for and handle the “people” side, applying a necessary level of business engagement to support the existing culture and organizational dynamics. We can help you deliver solutions that effectively engage the business to deliver meaningful outcomes. Contact us at [email protected] for more information.