How to successfully implement creative project management software
By Jodie Byass
So you?ve finally selected your project management software and you can?t wait to roll it out to your wider team. When implementing your project management software, it?s crucial to ensure that you adopt the best strategy and involve the right stakeholders.
Drawing on years of industry experience and feedback, we?ve put together admation?s top tips for getting the most out of your new project management software.
1. Pick an optimum time to implement your new project management.
Implementing your new project management software at the busiest time of the year is only going to put more pressure on your teams. Potentially, this will drive them back to what they know best ? the old system and outdated processes. When implementing new project management software, schedule it when your staff aren?t squeezed by a major project or looming deadlines. This will give your team more time to discover and familiarise themselves with the new tools and processes, without it seeming like an additional chore.
When an implementation date is set, make sure that everyone is booked for training. A group product training session can be a godsend for busy project teams ? they ensure that everyone?s on the same page, and help users to understand the core value of adopting the new software in their roles. With the recent COVID restrictions and increasingly remote project teams, video conferencing can be just as effective as a traditional face-to-face training workshop.
2. Make sure you have your champion rearing to go.
One reason common reason why even best project management software might fail at the implementation phase, is that no one really gets behind it. Humans are creatures of habit, so your company?s product champion is going to be key to a successful implementation.
And who is the product champion, you might say? Think someone from your team, with adequate buy-in, team influence and most importantly ? understanding of the new project management platform. That key person is tasked with drawing their colleagues out of their comfort zones, illuminating the benefits of implementing the software to their teams, and supporting them during the transition period.
The champion is also the person who will check in and ensure that internal teams are adequately using the new system. They often use the platform themselves rather than managing from a distance, and their job is to make the new project management platform as pain-free as possible for their colleagues.
To ensure success, it?s imperative that your product champion has the right amount of buy-in, investment and belief in the product ? they?re leading organisational change, so if your product champion doesn?t see the value or benefits for implementing the project management software in your organisation, then why should everyone else?
It's common that in project management workflow platforms, a project champion might not necessarily be limited to a single individual either. Where workflows are involved, implementation might be a team sport. When implementing a project management workflow, your champions might consist of a well-thought out pilot team that can use their individual roles and experience to help their colleagues to navigate the platform. Again, direct use of the platform and belief in its core value for the business is key for anyone heading this pilot team.
3. Consider a phased approach to implementation
Consider the key objectives that your team originally wanted from your project management software, and opt to introduce this to your team first. If you were after project management software with the ability to store documents and view marketing calendars, then perhaps try introducing that into your workflow first. Then add online proofing and approval workflows, asset management or resource management down the track.
Remember ? you?re introducing new software to a range of people with differing roles within your business. To ensure full adoption, you may want to try introducing your teams to bite sized pieces of the product first. And once they?re comfortable with using the features they?ve seen, then you might want to add more into the workflow.
4. Draw a line in the sand for mandatory adoption.
Once all team members have received training and have had adequate time to become familiar with the new tool and processes, it?s time to make the old system obsolete. It might suit your team to have a crossover period between adopting the new platform, and reducing use of the old one. However, keeping both platforms up and running isn?t sustainable in the long term. So it?s best that you set a non-negotiable final date so that everyone can work towards this.
Setting regular reminders to ensure that people are aware of and on top of the impending changeover date is key to ensuring that all team members have finished moving any project management projects across to the new system, where needed. And once the old system is turned off, there?s no going back.
5. Ongoing appraisal of the new project management software.
Even after the implementation phase, it is important for the first few months to continue evaluating your new solution and processes, to see how it?s measuring up.
- Has the project management platform solved the issues that the previous one didn?t?
- Is anyone having problems navigating the platform?
- What are the benefits and best features of the new software?
- Have there been recent product updates that might help to better make use of the system?
At this stage, you may like to think about running a short survey internally, to identify any emerging bottlenecks or pain-points that your client success manager can help you to navigate through.
6. Keep training guides handy for new staff
With staff coming and going, it?s handy to have training guides that you can offer new team members to help them get up to speed with your project management software. It?s likely your vendor can also offer training videos and guides for newbies to learn from too.
To get the most out of your new project management software, be aware of why you are implementing the software across your business; clear milestones and a phased approach to implementation can help make a larger implementation project seem more manageable for everyone.