Gaining Project Buy-in that Sticks

Welcome back to Debbie’s series on the 5 key principles of project success. The first principle is having a concise project definition.  The second principle is gaining project buy-in that sticks.

What is buy-in?

In the context of managing successful projects, “buy-in”is full support of the project. That support can be expressed in many ways. In its simplest form, it’s a stated commitment to support the project – either through written or verbal communications. Taken further, Buy-in is expressed in the form of resource commitments of people or budget.  This can be also show up in the form of prioritization. As a project leader, you ideally want support to be explicit and announced.

What drives buy-in?

The single most important factor that can help you drive buy-in is understanding and managing your stakeholders. A stakeholder is anyone who contributes to or is impacted by your project. Don’t forget, stakeholders can be internal to your organization or external, such as vendors or agencies. They also may not know that they stakeholders – some are conscious of it. Others are not.

Many project managers will do a formal stakeholder analysis to identify and understand their stakeholders. There are many frameworks out there, but to help you get started, ask yourself these 4 questions:

  • Who are the key players?
  • What are their views on the project…supportive, neutral, resistant?
  • What is their impact on the project…direct, influencer, affected?
  • What does success look like to them?

Once you understand your stakeholders, develop a plan to manage and communicate with them. Focus on the most influential. Those people whose opinions and support matter a lot to the project – both negatively and positively.

When are you there?  

You’ve achieved buy-in when your key stakeholders have a good understanding of your project objectives, they agree that the project is worth the investment of organization resources, and they lend their full support to the project.

Getting there is not always easy, but the first step is acknowledging that gaining buy-in is important and worth your time.

Did you enjoy this article?

If you enjoyed this article, LIKE, COMMENT and FOLLOW at the top of this page to be notified when I post my next article. If you missed the overview, check out my previous post, 5 Key Principles of Project Success.  Next up is clear task estimation.

Debbie is a Managing Consultant at CW Training and Consulting. We specialize in hands-on, interactive project and process management workshops, customized to your needs. Contact Us and we will help you find the right learning solution for you and your business.

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