- What techniques or methods have you tried that led you to convince others of the importance of tooling?
Talking to people. Its the often the only way. Talk to as many people as possible about the tool. Water cooler chats are a good chance for this. This time isn’t just for discussing the latest football results or the previous nights episode of Eastenders. It is also a good opportunity to show off, let people know you’ve been learning something new or researching a particular tool. There is always a chance that the person you talk to could mention during a meeting that you’ve been looking at a tool that could solve a particular problem. Sneak the knowledge of the tool into the team through water cooler chats.
Working remotely does mean that water cooler chats are now rare. An alternative option is to send an email or a message through the company chat to relevant people. They can read it at their own leisure, and get back to you if they think its a worthy investment of their time.
- How do you respond when your team/company is reluctant to invest in tools?
First, I will communicate current issues that we are facing and why I think this tool could solve the problem. There has to be a reason for investing in a tool. If there is no reason, the reluctance to invest is actually warranted. So first job is to clearly demonstrate why we need this tool.
If there is still reluctance, then I will try to find cheaper or free tools. They can’t say no to something that is free.
Finally, all we can do is deal with it, but after suitable time periods I will bring up the subject again. More time, means more available evidence that will prove even more that we need the tool.
- How do you demonstrate the value of tools without wasting too much of your - and others – time?
Most companies I’ve worked at have always encouraged personal learning and knowledge sharing. There will often be opportunities for open sessions where people might share what they’ve been learning about and discuss new ideas. These sessions I find this is also the best time to demo tools and discuss their potential value.
Researching a tool and demoing it to others during ‘work’ time will be seen as a waste of time. People have work pressures and deadlines to deal with, they don’t want to drop everything to learn about something that might not be useful. However, a regular meeting slot where we are encouraged to share ideas, its a great break from the keyboard for everyone and it gives everyone the opportunity to share ideas. If there isn’t already a regular meeting (I find fortnightly is best) for this then I recommend encouraging your team to create one (even if its remote).