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Pitching your development ideas - Part 1

Jorge Sanchez, Sr. Director, Product Strategy, Appian
March 19, 2015

As application developers, most of our work goes towards the development of new features or apps. Most of the time, these features come from the stakeholders: those that define the vision and carry the responsibility of finding just the right balance of what to improve upon, fix or add. But inspiration can come from anywhere, and every once in a while it does.

Picture this: Joe is sitting on his desk, putting the finishing touches on a feature he's been tasked to implement and then it hits himÖ that moment of perfect clarity, genius, brilliance that gives him a great idea. Quickly, he stops what he is doing, runs to the office of the nearest stakeholder,kicks the door open like he's about to announce a fire, andÖ 30 seconds later is walking back to his desk, his brilliant idea, absolutely rejected. What happened?

How to present an idea

Knowing how to sell your development idea is important. Some might claim it's even more important than the idea itself! Convincing someone that an idea is worth pursuing? That's your pitch. This concept applies just as much as when you're trying to convince your better half to go watch a particular movie as it does when you're certain a new enhancement idea for an application is the way to go, and you want the stakeholder to agree.

No matter what it is we're trying to pitch, it's important to be aware that ideas, by their very nature, require changeÖand change can make people nervous. No matter how brilliant your idea is, implementing it will surely require someone somewhere to change something. Some individuals don't like change, no matter how large or small, and actively avoid it. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances. Here are 7 steps to successfully pitching your development ideas:

    • Define and refine your idea. (Consider benefits, execution, and delivery.)

    • Define the scope of your idea. (How big is it? Who does it involve? What does it require?)

    • Identify the stakeholders. (Who must actively support it? Who will ultimately authorize it?)

    • Consider the audience's perspective. (What are the needs of the stakeholders and others involved?)

    • Structure and create the pitch. (How will you start? How will you close?)

    • Practice the pitch. (Over and over!)

    • Deliver the pitch.

In my next blog, we'll take a deeper dive into each of these steps so you can make your awesome dev ideas become reality!

Jorge Sanchez, Director, Product