Arun Nithyanandam –
This is a series of posts, if you haven’t read the earlier ones, please read it here.
Sell Business to Business Users – Part 1: The Need
Sell Business to Business Users – Part 2: The Design & Execution
When All Else Fails
There are times when, despite your best efforts, you can’t get buy-in. People miss meetings; they show little interest in the solution; they find excuses to evade their commitments. If this happens, there are probably underlying tensions within the company and its groups.
Be especially careful when relying on executives to provide a top-down message for change without an underlying consensus from the user community. For example, the COO can send out an e-mail to all of the stakeholders that dictates the company’s vision and direction for the project. Such a message will dutifully be addressed by all of the communities within the company; however, you’re likely to see begrudging resistance.
Your project may be caught in a deeper undercurrent. For example, the stated goal and vision for the company may be different from the goals people perceive. An executive might say, “this project will save us 20% of our time spent on this process.” If people in the user community question the company’s growth prospects, they may wonder if this new project will put their jobs at risk.
If during the project you start to see tension or dissension among the stakeholders and user community, it’s good to take a step-back. Look at the world through their eyes:
• Does the group perceive the project’s relevance (to themselves and the company)?
• Does the group sense a value misalignment (between the company’s stated and perceived objectives)?
• Does the group feel that they will have sufficient organizational support (during and after launch) to be successful?
• Does the group believe the changes are too difficult?
Remember, when you’re introducing new systems, you’re not just dealing with hardware, software, and middleware. You’re impacting people.
Next week on these pages: Pre-Analysis Cook Book
About the Author
Arun Nithyanandam is a Strategy and Management Consultant based in Silicon Valley. Arun has managed multiple multi-million dollar IT projects in US and Europe across verticals. His current focus areas are Enterprise Contract Management Systems (deploying Nextance proposal-to-revenue and source-to-savings solutions to help companies improve financial performance and lower risk) and Enterprise Content Management Systems. Arun works with CIGNEX Technologies, a provider of Open Source based enterprise content management solutions.
During his spare time (if any) Arun enjoys hiking and reading.
Arun is currently working on a book (co-authored with Bill Sherman) code named “Managing Multi-million dollar projects” to be published in 2008.
For the collection of all Arun’s articles, please visit Squidoo Lens Arun Says