A project management software can increase the efficiency and productivity of the project, but its implementation is not always simple.
It is often the case that organizations start the process of inserting a new software without a clear understanding of how to deal with its implementation.
The implementation of a project management software is important, but the process can be stressful and challenging. This applies to both the employer and the employees.
Whatever system should be implemented, a structured implementation process will be needed in order to contribute to the sustainability and successful long-term operation of the new system.
Let’s see today what are the 8 mistakes to avoid.
- Avoid keeping everything as before, while waiting for everything to magically improve
- Do not dispel fear that is inevitably present in team members
- Do not engage and trust anyone
- Rely on the software to solve resource management problems
- Lack of leadership in implementation
- Failure to communicate expectations
- Missing motivation for the use of the software
- Lack of feedback
Avoid keeping everything as before, while waiting for everything to magically improve
Often, we tend to keep the old settings and functionality unchanged, waiting for everything to change magically from one moment to the other. It does not work that way.
Processes are the most flexible component of the implementation process as they can be adapted in order to meet the requirements of technology and people.
It is therefore essential to define the new processes in the early stages of the implementation project. It is essential to define them precisely because their underestimation can lead to a decrease in productivity. In fact, it is easy to understand how productivity can be undermined due to the duplication of work and the refusal of users to apply new processes if these are not clear.
Therefore, the implementation of a new software solution offers the opportunity to redesign the workflow. New systems have to be designed in order to maximize internal resources and efficiencies.
This is why it is important to clearly define the processes and the way in which people will have to interact with the software. Vice versa, it will be necessary to understand if it is necessary to modify existing processes.
It is possible to do this by answering these questions. How is it possible to:
- keep data clean and consistent?
- record data and analyze information?
- get answers to the questions?
- manage the system on a monthly basis?
- integrate other information systems with the software?
- interact with the software on a daily basis?
- overcome a software constraint by modifying the processes?
- Is the constraint really a software limitation or a capacity limitation within the team?
- Is it possible to work on improvements or adaptations in order to develop the personnel interface with the software?
- Is it possible to take advantage of multiple functions by adapting processes?
- What processes are needed in order to maximize the use of this new system?
The transfer of data from one system to another will also be a good time to eliminate obsolete and useless data for the project.
Interesting for this phase is the use of the brainstorming technique in order to involve and define the needs related to the implementation of the new project management software.
Do not dispel fear that is inevitably present in team members
As in all things, people need to try and, you know, mistakes can always happen. This is even more the case if the system is totally new.
If the fear of a mistake is so great and the consequences can be so important, one solution is to offer a trial version of the system. Thanks to this version it will be possible to experiment without risk all the features of the new software.
This will help to make the members of the team safer and avoid the fear of making mistakes that can have an impact on the project.
Moreover, it is necessary to provide one or more training sessions planned within the implementation plan.
Do not engage and trust anyone
Sometimes, project managers are so focused on the implementation process that they forget that other team members have the task to make the transition effective.
As a result, the project manager ends up being the only person who uses the software. The rest of the team will not feel involved and will have a reluctance to use something they do not know thoroughly.
Promoting values of openness, transparency, communication and above all sharing the “ownership” of software are the right attitudes.
Rely on the software to solve resource management problems
Softwares can certainly help in managing the resources of a project. However, offline management is always a fundamental and indispensable factor.
The tool can facilitate decisions regarding work priorities and tasks, but it cannot make all the necessary decisions, no matter how evolved it is.
A software does not have the sensitivity to understand moods and any perplexities or conflicts that can undermine a team’s productivity.
Therefore, it will be essential to organize meetings during all phases of implementation and to manage resources directly.
Lack of leadership in implementation
Regardless of the skills of the employees and the project team, the missing support and leadership are deleterious. They will inevitably lead to employees refusing to use the new software.
If leadership and support are lacking, the investment in the project management software will be useless. It will essentially be a lost investment and the efficiency of the organization will inevitably worsen.
It is therefore fundamental that the leadership, at project manager and at managerial level, is present throughout the software implementation process.
Failure to communicate expectations
If you try to make changes without notifying the personnel, you will inevitably find yourself facing a wall.
Before the implementation of a new project management software, it is necessary to communicate in detail the expectations on how the software will increase productivity.
This can include:
- discussion of the motivations that led to change,
- the timing with which the change will occur,
- the type of training necessary or available,
- how the team can communicate in case of questions and doubts.
Missing motivation for the use of the software
Expressing interest in reducing general costs does not represent a sufficient motivation to get employees to accept change.
For employees, change is simply a further effort, something that requires an investment of energy and time.
Lack of feedback
It is not enough to simply implement the new project management software, and have it used by the employees. In fact, once this has been done, it cannot yet be said that the implementation has been completed.
Creating a forum for regular feedback from users, in this case the employees, will give the opportunity to provide honest feedback on the perception of the new tool.
Feedback should also be given by the project manager and the management.
Only in this way it will be possible to understand if the software needs to be improved or updated. Feedback will give the idea if it was an optimal choice or if the new software is completely against expectations.
The chances of achieving goals for an organization are higher with a plan that is appropriate for software implementation.
By understanding what the pitfalls are to avoid, it is possible to make the transition to a new project management software easier and more effective
Moreover, regular monitoring of goals with respect to actual performance will make it possible to get the most from the investment.
Have you ever faced the implementation of a new project management software? How did you experience the situation? Tell us about your experience.