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Use Stories to Sell IT Projects to the Business Effectively

Anyone can have an earthshattering idea. Not just anyone can find the funding to make the idea a reality. For IT leaders looking to gain support for their next big project, they better have a strategy. In an article for InformationWeek, Curtis Franklin Jr. shares his thoughts on how to get the executives to nod their heads for new IT projects.

The Plot of Funding

Franklin believes storytelling is the key to getting approval for a project. CIOs and other IT leaders need to tell the persuasive story of how a business problem exists and why this proposed project will be the solution. Remember that, as far as executives are concerned, an enticing solution will somehow involve “increasing revenue and income, reducing costs, or some combination of those.” In fact, if at all possible, fixate on adding value over justifying cost:

While there are absolute limits on how much cost can be cut from a process, there’s really no logical limit to how much value can be added. In the business story, you’re changing your focus from the bottom half of the balance sheet (the expense half) to the top half of the balance sheet (the revenue and value added). It’s not just a change to the number in an equation, it’s a change to the story you’re telling around those numbers. That change not only wins more allies, but puts IT in a position of telling stories around components with few limits, rather than those with hard limits.

Just because the story is about business does not mean it has to be dry. Get people excited and eager if at all possible, even if discussing what amounts to spreadsheet information. This becomes especially possible if you focus at least part of the story on one real person, some ideal beneficiary in the business of IT projects. It is much easier to get people to sympathize with a living, breathing human. If you see some executive eyes getting red, you are on the right track.

For some additional insights, you can view the original article here: http://www.informationweek.com/devops/project-management/5-keys-to-sell-it-projects-to-the-business-effectively/d/d-id/1327085

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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