Why The Grumpiest Person Is Your Best Friend

“Who is your grumpiest, most irritable, most frustratingly difficult IT guy?”

“Can you introduce me to him?”

Sounds crazy, but let me tell you why I wanted to meet this person so much.

I was running a software development team at the time.

We were building a data visualization software for a government client–which posed a number of challenges.

They were using old technology, which meant that a lot of the cool new features we wanted to add wouldn’t work. We had to do things very differently if we wanted to get our customer these new features.

They were also prone to a lot of needs for approvals, which meant it was slow to implement anything new.

We also were up against personalities and politics, so we needed to make sure that the decision-makers were on our side.

So how do you get this new technology past an IT department so furiously vigilant to foreign antibodies?

You call the IT department and you ask for the most irritable, most frustratingly difficult IT guy who could possibly say “no” to your project.

I’m dead serious–I’ve done this.

You ask for that person and you review your concept with them.

The point is that by winning over a decision-maker (or a decision-influencer) like this, you’ve done 90% of the work up-front. You didn’t build out any code, but you solved a ton of problems before they happened.

Make them your best friend and you will have a much better chance of success.

On a single phone call, you have now increased outcome quality, decreased cost, and dramatically increased speed-to-market.

2 Minute Action

A call like this probably won’t take 2 minutes, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take 2 minutes to schedule it.

Who is someone who could say no to your project? How early on can you get them into your process?

If it’s not a person, what will happen at the last second that will prevent you from achieving your goal? Budget? Timeline?

Take 2 minutes to call that out into the light and schedule the meeting, call, or workshop to address this head-on.

By frontloading the work you get to solve problems before they happen.

You will have a happier team, a lower cost, and higher quality output.

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