A great innovation project gets all the way through to completion, but then it goes nowhere, because it doesn’t have leadership buy-in.
Unless a project has true support from the start, it’s very unlikely it will make any impact. No matter how revealing your insights are, or how many amazing ideas you generate, without support at the top, your efforts will have been wasted. So establishing a project sponsor before you start is vital.
Why strategic sponsorship at a leadership level is crucial
Sponsors help give your project credibility and demonstrate that the business supports the initiative.
They help mobilize other leaders to support and champion your work, and advocate for change.
They are somebody you can call on for advice, input, or support to help keep the project moving forward.
They help bridge the communications gap between you and the leadership team, providing updates on the project’s findings and progress as you go.
But how do you engage a project sponsor in the first place?
Did you know that there are a whole host of templates built into Sprintbase with clear instructions on how to use them to move through every step of your project?
Here are the key steps to take to secure support for your project, and how Sprintbase templates help get you there.
1. Make a list of the key stakeholders in your project
Is there a main business sponsor? Who are the influencers, the implementers, the gatekeepers? Make sure you know whose support you need.
2. Interview each person, starting with the main sponsor (if there is one).
Use the Sprintbase ‘Frame the challenge’ template to guide your discussion. This will help you agree what you’d like your project to focus on, why this is important for the business, what you’re trying to achieve, who it will impact, and more.
You may prefer to run this as a group discussion rather than individual interviews to make the process more collaborative.
3. Craft a ‘How might we…?’ question
Now it’s time to use the ‘Opportunity Framing’ guidance to help you distil what you heard into a focused challenge you can work on. This will help you craft a ‘How might we…?’ question your project can address.
4. Plan how you’ll keep your stakeholders engaged throughout the project
This step gives you the opportunity to come up with ways to keep your stakeholders actively involved and updated on project progress, such as through check-ins, Q&As, or involvement in sprints and workshops.
Securing buy-in for a project isn’t always easy, but it will have such a huge impact on the difference you can make with your work. So take a structured approach to make sure you cover all bases, and together you’ll start to get excited about what you can achieve together.
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