It should go without saying that support for a project from both management and the executives is of the highest importance. The success of any project depends largely on the leadership and support provided by the upper levels of the business. Big companies may have many projects in planning or production at any one time. A project manager wants to run a successful project. With top management and the company executives taking a keen interest in the project, the project manager has a much greater chance and incentive to make it work well.
So getting support is more than helpful. But how can such support be won? What needs to be done to convince the powerbrokers to give the project their unconditional backing? Well one sure fire way is to show the boss the benefits. And there are potentially many benefits attached to a project. The key is to be able to explain them to those on board.
Explain the following to management and watch their support become a reality.
- The project will make money for the company
- The project will help the company achieve its major goal
- The success of the project will help the success of other projects
- This project will result in better productivity throughout the business
- The long-term goals of this project will outweigh any short-term problems
- The success of your project will lift company morale
- The success of your project will reduce the need for resources
Convincing managers of the worth of your project can be done in stages. If you have to ‘borrow’ from other areas within your organization, convincing first the actual workers and then their managers is a good starting position. By demonstrating how being in your project will actually benefit them should give you strong support. But there has to be something worthwhile in it for them.
Then with this groundswell of support, your pitch to senior management is easier using the benefits listed above.
Of course winning support in the first instance is of little use if said support is but temporary. Such backing needs to continue throughout the life of the project. So what can you as the project manager do to have that support continue?
Well three words probably answer that – communication, communication and communication. Nothing puts off a manager more than being shut out of the loop. If your projects aims and objectives are clearly defined they are of little use if not explained well.
Then, once the project enters the production stage, giving supporters an ongoing and detailed report of task progress is vital. Managers are interested in projects they know about in detail.
It’s important to treat all managers equally. Some will have a direct interest in your project while others an indirect interest. By assuming that those with a lower stake in your project will have a lower level of interest could be fatal. You want strong support from all interested parties regardless of their stake.
Next time you prepare to be a project manager, work hard to win support from all levels of the business and particularly from those with the power to do you a power of good.
What neat tips do you have on winning management support? Add a comment below to share your experience.
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