Part 2 of the Breakthrough IT Series
Breaking through cultural barriers in an organization is more easily said than done. So, as we continue in this series, we’ll start with the foundation, communication.
In an ever-connected era, language is the bedrock of culture. How we communicate matters – at home, at work, on social media, via email and throughout the fabric of every relationship we sustain. Communication is at the core of every connection, whether personal or professional.
However, a SIS International Research study found that 70% of small to medium businesses state that “ineffective communication is their primary problem”.
Now, add the complexity of a high-cost, long-term IT project to the equation and IT projects can seem to be destined to fail.
How can businesses sift through the heavy context of technical objectives and find the value of a project, for continued investment and long-term sustainability?
The SOW (Statement of Work) is typically to define the outcome that the organization is expecting, creating clear parameters for a successful project.
But the truth is – even when we meet all the requirements of an SOW, being on time, on budget and meeting all the deliverables – that project’s failure is still possible.
Even in the presence of the finest systems, in order to experience true success, as an organization, people must adopt the solution – take it as their very own – understand it, connect with it emotionally, and fully support the new solution.
Smoother communication between business and IT can mean better overall efficiency, cost reduction, fewer system crashes, better data, smarter decision-making, smarter organizations and higher customer satisfaction.
Instead of “IT” being perceived as synonymous with “complexity” and “technicalities”, we want people to see the solutions and the value that IT can bring.
We feel the only way to do that is by changing how you communicate your IT project. We must communicate in such a way that the value of the project can be interpreted as beneficial to the organization.
Tips to Facilitate Communication
So how can you improve the communication within your organization? Here are a few tips to start a positive conversation.
- Always ask yourself “Why?”. Communicate with a clear goal in mind. Take into consideration all the variables that may have an impact on your outcome. Who is affected by this goal and how? What problems are you trying to solve? The clearer you are on your “why”, the more momentum you will have to achieve your goal.
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Keep in mind the goals and desires of key stakeholders. What does the business care about? What does the end-user care about? Try to align your goals with the goals of the organization and those impacted. How can you frame the benefits in the other person’s mind to help them see the value of the solution?
- Listen to others’ concerns, fears and challenges to gain better understanding. Listening and asking questions can help you demonstrate that you care and want to help.
- Think about any analogies you may be able to use to help you communicate your idea. Sometimes, a simple metaphor can paint a powerful picture of what you want to achieve. Develop creative ways to communicate your ideas to other people involved.
- Communicate early and often. Involve key parties in important decisions and keep them updated with progress reports. Adopt an “Open Door Policy” to show that you’re open to questions and concerned about how others feel.
The impact of one conversation can make a tremendous difference in the success of an implementation. You can be a part of changing other’s perception through clear value communication.
We began to see higher, long-term success with our customers, as we focused on communicating the value of our projects across the organization.
What are some communication methods you have found to be successful during your IT project? Share with us and leave a comment below.