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How to sell your idea to the team

andsmile profile image Andrii ・3 min read
The key is to be prepared.

Everything can be changed or improved. Sooner or later, you will have ideas for improving something in the project you work on. Maybe you read something, watched something, or just had time to think about the current situation, and an idea came to you.
It can be anything:

  • how to improve code
  • how to improve processes
  • how to improve the design
  • etc.

It can be small and big. It is not so hard to convince someone to make some minor changes.
But it is more challenging to do it when it requires fundamental changes.

Don't be afraid to present your idea to the team, just make a preparation.
Be prepared

Ok, let's go.
Imagine that you have an idea of how to improve current software architecture, and you think it is good and brings lots of advantages. Now the time has come for hard task: remember all your technical and soft skills and convince others that it makes sense.

How to promote your idea?

Analyze the current approach

First of all, you should analyze the current approach and understand how and why it was implemented or designed it. Most probably, this knowledge will help to convince others.

Find the pros and cons of the current approach

Find the pros and cons

You can't just say that your idea is better than the current process/approach/architecture. It does not work like this.

Prepare a list of the advantages and disadvantages of the current implementation. This list will help you and others to make a decision.

Prepare pros and cons in your idea

Yes, your approach can also have drawbacks, there is nothing ideal, but your approach can have fewer drawbacks or less critical. This will show which problems of the current process will be fixed in a proposed approach.

Prepare step by step plan

Prepare step by step plan

Prepare a list of steps or tasks that should be done to implement your idea. First, it helps others to see the scope of changes and will show that you know what you are talking about.

Don't forget about estimation

Once you have a plan, you should estimate how much time it will take.
How much time from implementing real business tasks will be taken for this improvement. It should not be a precise estimation, but it shall show which numbers you are talking about.
It's essential, without it, nothing can't be decided.

Make a presentation

You definitely need to present somehow your approach to the team/ team leader, and it is impossible to do without any prepared materials: pictures, presentation, etc.
So yes, prepare a presentation or anything that helps you keep the presentation's structure and give more visual information to the team.

Be prepared to questions

They will definitely be.
When your team sees your approach, they will ask questions, and challenge your proposal, to understand if it will cover their needs and improve the process. You should test your own approach as well and have your answers to such questions.

Don't give to many options

Don't give to many options
You should analyze and present only one, two options to the team, as you already did the analysis and made a better decision. Otherwise, it will be harder to decide and will take ages.

Give people time to think

Give people time to think about your proposal. Maybe they find something that would need to improve, some new cases that should be covered, or perhaps they just realize that yes, it is good and should be implemented.

But don't give an unlimited amount of time, organize a follow-up meeting with them in a week or two.

Feel satisfied that you did it

Even if your idea isn't implemented, you already have "+" to your karma.
Feel satisfied that you did it

In the end

Don't be afraid to improve processes, architecture, etc. It will show to others that you are not only a code writer but also can do more complicated things. Presentation and soft skills will definitely be useful for your career.

P.S. Have you ever tried to present your idea to the team? Did it work? What other tips can you add?

Posted on by:

andsmile profile

Andrii

@andsmile

Software engineer. Kotlin. Java. Write my thoughts about work

Discussion

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Great post!

Couple of things to add: Even if you idea doesn't get accepted, don't get disappointed. Its actually a green flag for a team that you are an active member who cares about development of current/future processes. Its better than those who are happy to do the same thing for 20+ years without a slightest change.

 

I totally agree.
Not accepted doesn't always mean 'bad' idea; maybe it is just not the right time for this change.