How to Get Approval for a Project

Getting a project approved can be a daunting task, and it’s much more difficult when someone lacks decision-making power. However, if you have a good idea that you believe will provide value to the organization, it’s important that you present it to the management team. Instead of going to a colleague, it’s better if you schedule an informal meeting with your manager to discuss it. The problem with going to a team member is that this individual might discourage you from moving forward.

The Meeting with Your Manager – Example

Hi, Melody –

I appreciate your taking the time to listen to my project idea.

 Here it is … during the past few months, I’ve noticed that customers are complaining about incomplete and wrong orders. In one case, we sent a unit without the power cord. My guess is that shipping is overwhelmed with the number of orders we’re receiving, and they’re failing to perform the necessary quality control steps. There’s no doubt that getting more orders is good, and we can’t tell the marketing group to stop advertising, so it’s best if we initiate a project to identify the root cause of the problem.

 My research during the past 35 days shows that 6 orders out of 100 are wrong. In the past, when we had fewer orders, only 1 order out of 100 was incorrect. Again, we can’t just assume that the increase in orders is the reason for the additional mistakes we’re making, so this is why I recommend that we launch a project to investigate the underlying problem.

 I know that people are super-busy, and I doubt that anyone can take on the extra work of running this project. Therefore, with your permission, I can assume the project manager role. As you know, I will need your approval to get started, and I suppose you will need to get clearance from the higher-ups. As part of this work, it’s essential that I speak to stakeholders in various departments, such as shipping, marketing, operations, IT, and others. If approved, I will need to schedule a meeting with these individuals.

 I know I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, but I know this project can make a big difference in the way we do our work, and the value we provide our customers. Please take the time to think about my proposal, and let me know if I can proceed.

 I’m sure you have questions, so please feel free to ask.


As you can see here, Adrian, who likely has little power to initiate a project, has made a strong presentation to his manager, Melody. He has focused on how the project will yield immediate value to the organization. In addition, he is willing to assume the work of leading the project. There aren’t many people who are this proactive, so his idea is likely to be well-received.

The other point I want to make is that coming up with ideas is only a small part of the solution. The difference-makers take the initiative to make something happen. In other words, they’re not afraid to do the work.