29 November 2016

Why internal politics will roadblock your web project

Tags:Design, Strategy, CX, Intranet, Culture

Have you ever rolled out a web project only to learn that different departments don’t agree on what the outcome should be?

You know the project has the potential to transform your business, yet it’s being held up by internal politics.

Internal conflict and the inability to work towards a common goal eat into the time and resources you’ve allocated. They also lower the chance of your project’s success – regardless of how much you’ve invested in your digital strategy or how digitally savvy your staff members are.

Whether you’re overhauling your intranet or launching a suite of new online services, the best practices in the world can’t help you if your team works in silos or has clashing goals.

Too often, businesses launch ambitious web projects that can set the stage for a customer-centric future, without gaining buy-in from different departments or ensuring that key staff members are working as one.

Grace Woodrow Kraus, head of experience design at Squiz, is seeing companies face these issues daily. “We work with many organisations that have the best intentions for their web projects but are faced with legacy structures or age-old hierarchies that can take things backwards and undo hours of work,” she says.

Let’s look at why internal politics could be preventing your web project from succeeding.

1. Your team is distracted by conflict and unable to focus on your customer

When there’s conflict between departments or staff members, it’s next to impossible for businesses to work towards a collective goal. Staff members tend to become inwardly rather than outwardly focused. They start thinking about themselves and what’s happening inside the organisation instead of thinking about what the customers really need.

In Grace’s experience, web projects suffer when companies employ too much red tape. “When we work with a lot of bureaucratic organisations, it’s often a huge mind shift for them to start thinking about their customers,” she says. “But the digital environment really demands that customer-centricity.”

For Grace, establishing a single view of the customer and getting stakeholders to think about that customer from the outset can mitigate internal issues before they arise. “It’s all about creating a plan for how you want to engage with that customer and engaging the right stakeholders in your plan,” she says.

2. Your business works in silos

One of the key causes of internal politics, according to Grace, is the fact that many teams within organisations still fail to communicate with each other well – a fact that leads to a siloed approach. When teams are motivated by conflicting goalposts and priorities, it’s unsurprising when web projects fail.

“What we see a lot, especially in traditional organisations, is that people don’t work very well across teams,” Grace explains. “But the end user experiences those silos in a matter of two or three clicks and can see them in a matter of seconds. Communicating across teams is absolutely vital. If you don’t have a bigger plan that people are working towards, you’re just creating noise for your customer and extra work for yourself.”

3. Internal politics create an inferior user experience

So, what are the consequences for your web project if you don’t resolve internal politics before you roll it out?

Aside from the time and resources that will go to waste if you need to start again from scratch, it’s the users who end up suffering.

“When you have internal politics, websites often end up with irrelevant or redundant content or content that’s not on message,” Grace explains. “And when users encounter this, it detracts from their experience and can damage your brand.”

There’s never been a better opportunity to invest in a digital workplace. But will internal conflict and a lack of common goals waste your investment in time and resources?

Now that you're aware of the effect that team cohesiveness can have on your web project’s success, you can put plans in place to eliminate barriers and resolve intradepartmental issues before you begin.

If you’d like your web projects to unfold seamlessly and your digital presence to enable future growth, it’s important that you start thinking about this now.

Contact Squiz today to find out how we can iron out internal politics and bring your digital vision to life.

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