Standardizing Your Company – Part 4: Buy-In Across the Board

In last week’s post we looked at the importance of having the buy-in and support of upper management.  As you might guess, the PR campaign must continue to middle management and the end users.  We also discussed the importance of pointing out the advantages of standards that hit home with the listener.  The same holds true for these folks as well.  So how should they be addresses?

After your meeting with the company president (covered in Part 3), it’s time to speak with your department leaders and project managers.  What do these folks care about?  Making deadlines, staying under budget, and NOT disrupting the folks in the trenches.  Here are some important points to make about what standardization will do for these folks.

  • You’ve spoken with the company president and he/she is fully on board
  • Standards are going to make your team more efficient as they’ll be able to find each other’s work more quickly (file management standards).
  • Sharing the workload will be easier since each user will not have his/her own custom environment.
  • Quality will improve, especially for the younger team members who are unsure of which choices to make.
  • The standards will be integrated into the software so that the users aren’t slowed down by having to page through a manual or learn a new system. (you have to be sure and follow through on this one.)

Now for the end-users.  What do they care about?  If your company lacks standardization, you’ll be surprised at how much your end-users will appreciate the guidance that standards will provide.  Power-users are tired of having to answer questions and less experienced users are tired of having to ask for help.  A reference guide will be a welcome addition to your workflow.  But what other advantages will standardization bring to them?  Here are some good points to make:

  • You’ve spoken with their supervisors and they are fully on board.
  • Aren’t you tired of spending hours trying to find someone’s drawing who happens to be out sick that day?
  • Wouldn’t it be great to have a company template that already has everything you need when you start a drawing?
  • How would you like to be able to click a button and have drawing items created that are automatically on the right layer?
  • Aren’t you tired of the PM complaining that these drawings don’t look like the ones from the last job?

Of course, there are going to be users that don’t want to be messed with.  There will be those who claim that their type of work is too unique to adhere to any company standards.  There will be those who think the way they’ve done it for 20 years has worked just fine.  There will be those that swear that clients or government agencies demand that they do it the way they do it.  All you can do at this point is ensure these folks that these things will be taken into consideration and that the standard will be developed in a way that addresses their concerns.  They will not be happy at this stage, but most will come around later on.

The most important message to get across is that it’s time for your company to stop operating like a mom and pop firm and start doing what the “big boys” do.  Start planting the seeds that your company culture is going to change to one where following the company standards is simply “the way we do it around here”.  If your firm lacks standards, your end-users won’t deny that this lack causes them grief on a daily basis.  Challenge them with finally doing things right instead of just getting them done.

What’s the next step?  Now that everyone is on board (almost) it’s time to start development?  Should you assemble a CAD committee to get started on this effort or develop the standards yourself?  Tune in next week to find out.

One comment

  1. […] Standardizing Your Company – Part 4: Buy-In Across the Board […]