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I work for an in house IT shop. We use a scrum-like system. What we are struggling with now is getting the business owners to follow the process. They all like it in concept until they want something, then the process is for the other people. How do you convince them that following the process will give them more consistent results then just throwing a grenade over the fence and saying, "make it work".

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You don't. It's their business. If basic explanation is not working, nothing but failure will...and they're not likely to see it as their own. – Crazy Eddie Feb 22 '11 at 18:40
Hmmm...Waterfall doesn't work because it's too hard. (in other words lack of developer skill). Agile doesn't work because the customer won't baby-sit. Maybe it's time for the developers to do their job right and stop blaming everyone and everything else. – Dunk Feb 22 '11 at 20:41
@Dunk - I don't care the method that is used. I care that a system is in place so every one know how to get a project or feature in place with the proper by off. – Erin Feb 22 '11 at 21:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's probably about time.

Buy-in is called buy-in because there is an exchange just like buying a product. You get the benefit if they follow the process, but in order for them to work with you, they need to get something in return as well. A lot of times executives and higher managers have a lot of things to work on and don't have time to get really involved in the day-to-day workings of things. For better or worse they usually don't have the time to invest in being super involved in your process (like scrum). What you need to do is make the benefit of them spending time in your process outweigh the time they won't have to spend on their 100 other "I need this now" projects.

I would suggest:

  • Streamline your process and make all the information summarized and concise so business owners can make fast decisions.
  • Have your demos and questions very well prepared ahead of time so that they have to spend minimal time looking over things so they can get back to work.

It may not be that they aren't buying-in, just that they have other things to do besides have regular meetings with your team. Try to talk with them and see where you get the most value when you're together and focus on that. Try to cut out all the fat and focus on ROI. That should help a lot.

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We actually don't have Execs make direct requests they go through a handler and he manages their requests. I was actually talking about Product managers and operations people. – Erin Feb 22 '11 at 21:29

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