How many times have you attempted to introduce change to your organization and failed. If you care about the work that you do, it’s probably been quite a few times. Unfortunately, it all comes down to how you present your case.
In this case, I’ll look at testing techniques. Maybe you want to introduce test automation, or vulnerability scanning, or performance testing. Many managers are thrilled at first at the thought of test automation. It will free up their testers and maybe even free up some head count. If done successfully, both of these assumptions are false. Have you tried to implement test automation? Did it fail? Probably.
Maybe you’ve come back later on and said that you want to re-implement this. Immediately, you get “No, we’ve tried this before and it didn’t work for us”. Please understand, this does not mean absolutely not, it means “In the context that we understand it, we have tried, failed, and the risks of trying this again in the same context outweigh the benefits”. You know what? Their assumption makes perfect business sense, and I don’t blame them at all.
For starters, I hope that if you’re reading this,that you are passionate about the work that you do, and you are willing to invest some time into it.
1) Understand why they are saying no. There’s probably reason for this. If they’re not willing to give reasons, you may be barking up the wrong tree, or, you may be working for the wrong company. Also start asking around to other people in your organization around this. Start with anyone who has been involved in previous attempts, and start working up. You will probably find people who are interested in this as well. If you can find someone with influence within the organization with this outlook, great. You may be able to use them to help champion the effort.
2) Start researching why other people/companies have failed at the same thing. Was it due to lack of commitment from management? What it implemented poorly? Make notes of all of this, and for your own sake, write down where you found this information!!
3) Start looking at how you can address both your managers concerns, and the reasons why other people have failed.
4) Build out a proof of concept. This doesn’t have to be full scale. Importantly, you will probably not want to do this on company time if you do not have the blessing of your management team. You will probably find more points of failure while doing this. Make sure to note these as well and how you plan on compensating for them. Also important, do occasional showcases for those who are sympathetic to your cause. You may want to be careful with this step however. If there are managers or influencers who are absolutely against this who know about it, they may try to stop you right where you are.
5) Build out a business case. Why has this failed before in your organization? Why has it failed in other organizations? What can you do about it? Include your proof of concept. How do you think that you can make this work?
6) Present the business case to management. If you found someone who was able to help you champion, or if you have influencers who are sympathetic, get them involved as well. Be excited when you present. If management does not hear some excitement from you, they will probably not be excited either and it will be hard to engage them. Do not ask for this to be implemented. Ask for an official proof of concept to be built out.
7) Ask to be a part of this proof of concept. With all of your research, you will probably help in this succeeding.
8) Use it for a few months, and present your results to management.
I hope that this works for you. Please understand that you may discover at any point during this process that this may not work in the context that you are attempting to propose. That’s alright. It let’s you know that that maybe this particular method isn’t for your organization, and allows you to think of new vectors, or, abandon the idea with the knowledge that it won’t work right now. Keep all of your information. These steps have worked well for me in the past. It won’t necessarily work with managers who don’t care about how their team/department does. I can happily say though that in the cases where I’ve made it to step 6, the number of time that I’ve been turned down is at a flat 0.