5 tips for tech folks to pitch ideas to management

It's hard for tech folks to pitch ideas to management. But with these 5 tips, you might just succeed.

You can have too many ideas

No organization in the world would admit that it doesn't want to hear your ideas. Unless you're like me and you come up with new ideas every day. That's right. Every. Day. A new idea.

"Let's do X"

Imagine, you propose an idea. Then another. And another. Maybe it's something small like trying another framework or a build system by your team. Maybe you've read about some cool tool that you think your organization should use. Maybe you've read about a threat and suggested using MFA and device management. Maybe you've seen a new way of doing pitches. At some point, you start noticing that none of your ideas are getting executed. None. It seems like your manager is not listening to you, huh? But you keep trying. At some point, however, your enthusiasm starts to diminish. In the end, you stop sharing your ideas. What's the point.

I've done a lot of that in the past myself and only recently I realized there is a more effective way of pitching ideas.

Look at it from their side

If you're like me, it could just happen, that no one really took the time to explain to you, how your management looks at ideas. Let me tell you.

How does it help us achieve X

Every organization strives to achieve something. Whether it's increasing the revenue, extending market reach, getting to product-market fit. If you want to increase the chances of your idea being implemented, think about how it contributes to your organization's goals. And if you're not sure what your organization finds important, ask your manager. I bet, they will appreciate your curiosity and "business focus", especially if you're in a tech role.

What's the business case

You might have heard your managers talk about business cases. It might sound scary at first, but in reality, it's business talk for what's in it for us?. Doing something requires time and money. Even if there is no direct cost involved (no bill to pay), it means that for a while you and your colleagues won't be doing something else, so there will be an indirect cost to it. Your managers often think in terms of internal costs and knowing what you cost your organization, could help you calculate the benefit of your idea versus what it would cost to implement it.

Why this idea

The bigger your organization, the more ideas there are floating around. Your organization has limited resources and time so it's logical that it will want to focus on ideas that can yield the best results. The more your idea relates to your organization's goals or the more advantage it could give your organization over its competitors, the bigger the odds it will come to fruition.

Do we need this now

Is there a time constraint to executing your idea? Is it something time-sensitive like preparing for an event or a new partner program that's due to launch in the next few weeks/months? Knowing any time constraints will help your organization prioritize your idea accordingly.

What's the plan

Ideas are nice, but without proper execution, they're pointless. If you want to pitch an idea, think about how you would execute it. What resources would you need? Who could help you? Most likely your plan won't be perfect, but it will prove that you gave it a thought and care about it.

Pitch your next idea

If all you do is to throw your idea in your manager's lap, you can be sure that it's the last you've heard of it. If you truly care about doing something, you will need to do the work. I know it's far more demanding but it's really the only way of your ideas getting done.

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