How To Get Constituent Buy-in For Your Big Data Investments

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June 21, 2017

How To Get Constituent Buy-in For Your Big Data Investments

Many factors can affect the ultimate success or failure of a big data project, but none are more important than stakeholder trust. When it’s there, your relationship with stakeholders runs smoothly, and trust may not seem like it’s much of a factor. However, trust is omnipresent in these relationships, affecting everything from working on projects to basic communication. When trust is lacking or damaged, your relationship with the stakeholders can break down, leading to lost work, stakeholder disillusionment and a damaged professional brand. This makes building and maintaining trust paramount to your success.

Creating long-term trust takes a commitment to transparency, dependability, mutual respect, and quality. Consistently making these qualities into habits will lead to solid relationships that are sustainable. Getting and keeping trust doesn’t happen overnight, but there are techniques that you can use to get moving on the path to trust and set the tone for future success.

Sweat the Small Stuff

Focusing on the details of a project can pay dividends. Take the communication aspect of a project, for example. While it is important to build out the core functionality of your project, focusing on the details, like your communiques, can show stakeholders and users that you have what it takes to focus on and complete larger tasks. Small errors, like grammatical or typographical errors, could lead to the assumption that other aspects of the project might also suffer from a lack of attention to detail. You don’t need to be a perfectionist, but demonstrating your ability to do small tasks successfully can build trust in your abilities to get the big stuff working, too.

Break Things Up

There may be many issues with a project that need attention, but trying to do too much at once can spell doom for a project when it keeps you from making noticeable progress. When stakeholders don’t see progress, they begin to lose faith in your ability to get the job done. To keep their faith and show clients that you are making progress, split the work into manageable tasks. For instance, building a data mart that will provide both standard and ad hoc reporting capabilities could be broken up between the standard reports and the ad hoc reporting. Building out some of the standard reports first would provide immediate value while you work to get the ad hoc reporting set up. As you complete each task, you’ll be showing progress towards the end result and assuage anxiety about your ability to do the work.

Prove It

Sometimes stakeholders lack trust because they don’t understand your plan. You might be using a method that has worked on similar projects, but if this is the first time that your client has seen your approach, then they might be skeptical. Let’s say a project calls for a dashboarding system to help make sense of the data, but the stakeholders are only comfortable with basic spreadsheet charts because it’s all they’ve seen to this point. Making a single dashboard first would show them what it would be like so that they have a better idea of what’s in store. Working up a proof of concept before you begin the major development on a project can go a long way to getting the stakeholder to buy in.

Remember, stakeholder relationships are built on your interactions with them, and trust develops over time through a concerted effort. While it won’t happen all at once, using these strategies can help you start building and maintaining trust.