Employees on software and product teams are innovative by nature. The best employees aren't afraid to bring ideas to the table and identifies team challenges that could be improved. Sometimes, the best ideas come in the form of off-the-shelf tools that can help address such pain points.
So you have a DevOps tool you love - how do you convince your manager that it's a good investment? Having been an employee in your shoes previously, read on to learn how you can champion DevOps tools in your organization if you're not the final decision maker.
Identify how specific features of the tool will make work easier for yourself and your team.
At the end of the day, a DevOps tool like LayerCI is meant to bring value to your team. Rather than listing out every feature, it is important to research the key features of the product that highlight ideal use cases for your organization. The best way to pitch a feature to a manager is to use the "before and after" method to help them visualize a transformation.
An example of this sounds like this when applying to LayerCI:
"Our current code review process can be unpredictable and time consuming. Developers on our team are spending 50% of their work time sharing screenshots or jumping on long zoom calls just to share an update. With LayerCI's staging server per commit feature that shares updates through Slack, we can save time sharing screenshots and free up developer time. It only takes 1 hour to set up and one sprint to see results."
To put it in a template:
1) Our team's current challenge is [state challenge and quantify it]
2) With [feature], we can solve this challenge because [benefit]
3) It only takes [state time] to implement it and [state time] to see results
Get the endorsement of people from your co-workers and leverage empathy to influence change.
As Harvard Business Review mentions, there is strength in endorsements from co-workers, especially in larger organizations where decisions have to pass through more than one person. Contrary to popular belief, decisions are not made based on simply data. Rather, it's a combination of emotional resonance and analytics. If your teammates have shared experiences or opinions on a subject, it helps send a strong signal for empathy on their end, especially if they are no longer as close to the day-to-day problems of your role.
Asking teammates who share your curiosity for new innovations by prompting them with one of two approaches:
- Asking for feedback approach: "Hey, what are your thoughts on this? I've been thinking about asking our manager for permission to try it out and wanted your opinion."
- Shared experience approach: "Hey, I've been having trouble with [state challenge]. Have you experienced this too?"
Understand and anticipate blockers that need to be resolved to get buy-in.
Does your manager have a really busy week? Or maybe, they dislike presentation decks and need to try the tool themselves?
It is important to anticipate potential blockers that may create hesitation on the manager's end to give you the go-ahead.
The golden question to ask is really: "What can I do to help you evaluate this tool?" This signals a sense of commitment from your end to support the manager in their decision-making process and shows that you really care about anticipating their needs. Whether it's to schedule a conversation with the key contact at for ex, LayerCI or to set up a trial environment for them to try a tool themselves, asking this question will help push this DevOps transformation forward. Plus, you can always ask your main contact at the evaluated company for help with gathering information.
Getting buy-in from decision makers as a champion or intrapreneur within organizations is a rewarding and crucial skill not just in DevOps transformations but in many areas of your career later down the line.
If you need any help with getting buy-in at your organization, email me personally here.