Bottoms Up

Article excerpt

When the executive suite approves a project that will create major change, here's how to handle the stakeholders who matter most.

Compare the importance of having buy-in from below to having executive-level buy-in.

Gustavo Pastrana, PMP: I could see why people might think that buy-in from the executive level is more important, because it's difficult to build buy-in from below without buy- in from above. But in truth, they're both equally important to a project's success.

Tom Sparrow, PMP: I agree. Here's a good example: When I was the project manager on the construction of a healthcare facility, we implemented mockup rooms so the medical staff could experience how the new facility would look and feel in critical rooms, such as maternity or intensive care, and the staff provided feedback to the architects.

I'll never forget when an older nurse, who didn't seem interested in implementing change, came up to me with this huge smile in the middle of the project.

She said, "The architects have come back time and time again, demonstrating with the new drawings that they are actually listening to our suggestions." Getting buy-in from internal end users ensures we're meeting their clinical needs and requirements- and the project might not have been as successful without that buy-in.

What's at risk when project managers don't rely on change management techniques?

Mr. Sparrow They end up with an end product that is not sustainable. …