How far up the chain are you aiming?
The person who is sponsoring the work you're doing is sort of like the "Champion Beholder." They will evaluate the work when it's done. Their ass is on the hook if it doesn't get done right. The gold stops with them.
The question is: who and how far up the Chain are they? Somewhere between you and the CEO.
Soon after I joined the Fellowship of the Intranet Homepage, we learned who the Champions were. It was some folks in the Corporate Communications team, director-level (or VP-level, can't remember).
I was aware that people up the Chain existed. By then I had met our director and senior director, but no one really above that or from outside our org.
You know... from The Business.
This time was different.
The Fellowship all assembled in a room.
The Champion Beholders were waiting for us.
They laid out the problem:
"We are using the enterprise CMS to post our news on the homepage. We want to redesign it. Everyone within the company will see it each time they open the Internet. We want our news to be front and center and we would like it to load quickly. We were told you could do that?"
We nodded, sweat forming on our brows. Don't fuck it up!
Can you guess why being in the same room and having a conversation with the Champion Beholders was beneficial?
It was the only reason we could clearly answer the Why, they told us what they wanted. And now we knew who we were working for. Who we were serving. Who benefited from us being done.
We were no longer the Fellowship of the Intranet Homepage, we were now the Fellowship of the Champions' Homepage.
When we delivered the project, the Champion Beholders were happy. You can bet that we gained some renown that day. Sometimes we'd see the Beholders in the hall and they would wave. To us. We had slain their problem, after all.
Somewhere in Bowser's Castle, a Champion Beholder is waiting for results. That you are helping deliver. If you can, depth-first search around and find who they are, then meet them. See if their
IHaveAnOpenDoorPolicy interface has an implementation.
"Muskox, another Faceless One crashed the Annual Space-Golf Retreat Planning session. Find out who they were so we can throw them into the Firepits!" - A note pinned to a golf bag
On the piece of paper where you tried to articulate your Why, try to list the Who: the people involved in the project with their role and org.
The list might look like this:
1. Jetson – Principal Engineer (IT)
2. Frogbeard – Project Manager (Product)
3. Dagoth Ur – Some Product Director (Business – not sure)
4. Swolbjorn – not sure, attends meeting silently (???)
This week see if you can try to fill in any blanks and follow the Chain upwards until you find your Champion(s).
Bonus: Schedule a 1-on-1 with them as a "get to know you." Just a chit-chat. Make your face known to them.
We discovered a Tranquil Spot in a nearby park as I walked with my daughters this morning and the kids played in the fountain with their clothes on.