IT GovernanceIT Health Check

Nudge stakeholders into addressing project issues now

Ken Hardin has experienced the same thing we all have: he spends hours coming up with elaborate requirements documents, specs for a new application, business charters for upcoming projects, but the project team isn’t reading it. Specifically, the business side of the project team; they are too busy to go through your technical specifications and even if they were, it’s probably too specific to be easily digested in a way they can understand (despite the hours you spent!). So what’s the solution? According to Hardin, you need to put your project issues in a language the business side understands, including the ever popular power point: When in Rome: If you find yourself faced with a fairly pernicious conceptual snag (i.e., blank stares) over a key issue, do a five-slide presentation to list the pros and cons of possible directions. Throw in a pie chart or other visual, if you can. As much as PowerPoint has fueled a penchant for oversimplifying complex issues, at least in this detail jockey’s opinion, it can be quite useful for isolating and illustrating a single topic. And it’s the preferred media for a lot of business executives. When you are defining a project, communication is always the key, and you have to do what it takes to make that happen. Another helpful tip is to find a mid-level champion; that is, find someone who reads all of your specs and documents and use them to move your issues forward. Business people are more likely to understand and take action when it’s “one of their own” delivering the message.

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