How do you convince your team/company to invest in tools?
There are 2 ways to get teams and companies to invest in the tools you want them to invest in: Directly and Indirectly.
Direct Methods for getting tool investment
Direct methods include speaking to managers directly and asking for the desired tool investment. This is definitely the simplest method, assuming that your manager is approachable, but you have to be prepared for a lot of bureaucracy. Even if the manager shares your enthusiasm for the tool, it is likely that they will need to seek approval from the finance department and other managers. Getting approval for tools, even with the relevant enthusiasm can take time. However, you can give the process a little bit of a boost by resorting to indirect methods.
Indirect Methods for getting tool investment
Indirect methods of getting approval for tool investment can include subtle conversations with colleagues and teams. It could involve water cooler chats, or chats in the canteen. You want to introduce the tool into the company consciousness so other individuals become aware of the tool and may decide they need it as well. They may mention the tool in a meeting, or learn more about it themselves. As more people become aware of the tool, they may find that they also need it. This will increase the chance of approval for investment.
Don’t be a time waster
Demonstrating the value of a tool without being seen as a time waster is always a challenge. So the trick is to pick time during the work day where people are less focused on work. Individual one to one meetings with your line manager is a good time. You could also practice your elevator pitches and briefly mention the tool during water cooler chats. Sow the seeds of interest and ask if you could arrange a meeting for a later date where you could demo the tool.
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).
Getting investment is never going to be easy. As well as direct methods, you may also need indirect methods. Use time which is less focused on work for tool discussions and demos and speak to as many people as possible about the tool (not just managers). Sneak knowledge of the product into the company through informal chats.
Ministry of Testing Club discussion page for Day 12
See how others might convince teams and companies to invest in tools