An Unconventional Solution to a Big IT Problem

Users believe IT will somehow divine a perfect system for them. As much as IT pros wish this unrealistic expectation would go away, they know it’s not possible.

IT stakeholders

Yvonne Scott’s Team Hits the Road

Over the next six weeks, Crowe Horwath’s enterprise architect traveled the country with the key stakeholder. Wherever the stakeholder went, the architect was with him. Whenever the stakeholder had a free moment, they worked together. To prepare for the meetings, the architect worked overtime to make sure the next time their stakeholder looked over the project materials, they were fully up to date.

Their hard work paid off: Six weeks later, Yvonne Scott had an approved architecture for the new audit platform.

The Added Benefits of Face-to-Face Meetings

This deep engagement with their key stakeholder yielded a number of additional benefits beyond the approval of the architecture. They included:

· The key stakeholder brought eight business peers into key project roles.

· He actively supported selling this project to the firm’s executive committee.

· He provided insights that helped IT identify commonalities with other projects designed for other business units.

“It became an accelerator for all our service delivery platforms across the organization,” Scott said.

Hit the Road or Hit Your Head Against the Wall

We all know that getting signoff and approval and stakeholder engagement is a must for every project. But there isn’t a business in the world that isn’t becoming more mobile.

In this highly mobile, fast-changing business world of ours—where meetings are canceled on a moment’s notice, and services like GoToMeeting and WebEx are meant to replace face-to-face interaction—we are tempted to believe that remote interactions are the only way to work, and that compromises have to be made in order to get through the project deliverables.

Fight that temptation!

By steadfastly sticking to the need to engage one-on-one and face-to-face with key stakeholders—even if that means getting on the road with them—you dramatically increase your chances of success with the project. In addition, you set yourself up for a whole series of knock-on benefits such as those enjoyed by Scott and her team.

So don’t compromise on face-to-face stakeholder engagement—no matter what it takes.

I want to thank Yvonne Scott for showing us the way.

Marc J. Schiller has spent more than two decades teaching IT strategy and leadership to the world’s top companies. Through online courses, speaking engagements and corporate consulting, his company, Rain Partners, nurtures, educates and develops IT pros at all levels on how to be more effective, influential and successful in their IT careers. Click here for a free digital copy of his acclaimed book—The 11 Secrets of Highly Influential Leaders.

This article was originally published on 11-20-2014
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