3 steps to increase user adoption and ROI: #2 Know your stakeholders

Step #2: Know your stakeholders

User Adoption - Know your stakeholders

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War (c. 500 BCE)

Wow! That was written over 2,500 years ago, and it is still as applicable today as the day it was written.

Look. I’m not saying that projects are battles and stakeholders are the enemy, although perhaps there are days it may feel like that. My modern interpretation of Sun Tzu’s words is that for projects to be successful, you must understand the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your team, AND you must know and understand your stakeholders.

Knowing yourself is a bit (okay, more than a bit) beyond the scope of this post as is knowing your team.  Although with regard to knowing your team, I will say that spending time with your team on a more personal level and working with them over a period of time are certainly key ingredients to knowing them, but perhaps the best way to truly understand your team is to work with them through a particularly difficult challenge – perhaps this is analogous to going into battle with them.

If you don’t know your stakeholders, your ability to achieve high user adoption will be significantly diminished.

Understanding your stakeholders, however, is right in line with the focus of this series of posts. As we did in the prior post devoted to using simple terms, let’s look back at the formula from the introductory post of this series on user adoption and ROI.

Problem + Solution + User Adoption = Return on Investment (ROI)
[The solution, coupled with solid user adoption, DOES result in a return on the investment you made to create that solution.]

This formula makes the point that user adoption is critical to achieving ROI. How do you help ensure solid user adoption?

Answer: Engaged Stakeholders

For all this to come together, you need to know your stakeholders, and you must have a method to categorize them, so you can most effectively engage them.

How do you get to know your stakeholders?

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