Whether you’re trying to land a client or finish a project, you need to be able to demonstrate your team’s value to clients. Of course, you know the numbers don’t lie, but your value to a company is much more than numbers on a spreadsheet. When it’s time to show what you’ve done and how it benefits the client, use this as a guide.
Know what the end users and stakeholders value before you negotiate with them or begin a project.
If you don’t have a clear picture of the client’s business values, you’ll never be able to deliver an effective solution. Know the client’s requirements, time frame for completion, and expectations before you do anything on a project. If you don’t have this key component right, nothing else will work for you.
Don’t assume you know what the stakeholders value. Ask.
Your value to the client will increase tremendously if you merely ask end users and stakeholders what they appreciate and need in a solution. You may already have an idea, but if you don’t ask, you won’t know. They may highly esteem one small aspect of the solution that you had overlooked, or they may not care about a seemingly significant piece of the project.
The act of asking is an effective way to demonstrate respect and understanding, which will raise your worth in their eyes.
Understand perceived value vs. quantitative value.
The cold, hard data is one way to judge merit and importance, but it is not the only way. While the numbers tell one story, your clients have thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that come into play.
For example, if you’re working for a corporation, its board may have strong negative feelings about a software provider you considered working with. This provider may objectively be the best fit for the company, but if they perceive that working with that company is not the direction they wish to go, let it be and choose another provider.
“Measure the benefits of the recommended solution in terms of both qualitative and quantitative gains to the enterprise.
Where possible, benefits should be quantified. Benefits of a non-financial nature (such as improved staff morale, increased flexibility to respond to change, improved customer satisfaction, or reduced exposure to risk) are also important and add significant value to the organization, even if they must be assessed qualitatively. Benefit estimates should relate back to strategic goals and objectives.
A requirement that does not deliver direct or indirect value to a stakeholder is a strong candidate for elimination. Value does not need to be monetary. Business value can be delivered through requirements that support compliance with regulatory or other standards, alignment with internal standards or policies of the organization, or increased satisfaction for stakeholders, even if those things do not have a direct measurable financial benefit.”
Don’t be afraid to tell the client what you’ve found, even if it’s not what he or she wants to hear.
Not all requirements that are of value to a stakeholder are a workable or advantageous part of the solution. When you can show the client why his or her requirement isn’t effective or desirable, you will be respected and valued, even if you’re delivering bad news. Honesty and understanding are your best friends in this case.
How do you demonstrate value?