Tips to avoid the pitfalls of implementing project management software
So you've finally selected the right project management software for your business, and you're keen to move on to the implementation phase. Before you do anything, make sure you read our top 7 tips on how to avoid the common pitfalls of a software implementation like this.
1. Implement your project management software during a non-peak period
Change isn't easy at the best of times, so the worst thing you could do is plan your implementation during a busy period when your teams are grappling with heavy workloads. You're far more likely for users to adopt the software if they have time in their day for training and practice.
2. Keep users in the loop about the implementation with a clear communication plan
No matter how great your project management software is, it requires committed users to get the full benefits from it. To ensure you get people on board from the beginning, make sure they have a clear understanding of what the implementation phase will include via a communication plan.
Important information users need to know:
- The goal for implementing a project management tool
- The features and benefits of project management software
- Important milestones such as the start and end dates
- The roll out stages (perhaps it will roll out to one team or department first and then roll out to others in a second phase)
- A final date when previous tools will be turned off
- A guide to locating training manuals and videos after the initial training
3. Refine approval workflow processes that don?t fit with the new tool
If you find that your old approval process doesn't fit with your project management tool, it might be time to update it. For example, email approvals are no longer required because the software has an inbuilt approval workflow management feature that allows users to simply log in and provide feedback.
Suggested Reading: Tips on refining your marketing approval workflow
4. Make sure you have a nominated person to project manage the implementation
Like the selection process, the implementation stage needs to be managed like a project. This means it requires a dedicated role to oversee each implementation phase. Depending on how big or small your business is, it might need just one person or a few people to manage the implementation. In some organisations, a workflow or operations manager is brought in to ensure that information is properly communicated, that training has been set up for all users and that everyone understands their role during the implementation phase. For an ad agency, it might be a traffic manager who oversees this process. The most important thing is that someone is managing it to ensure it is successful.
5. Ensure that every user receives comprehensive training
It's critical that everyone who is going to use the project management tool receives comprehensive training to ensure they feel confident to use it. There's no worse scenario than investing in a tool only to find two months down the track, there are people reverting back to old processes and tools. For anyone that is struggling with the system or change, be sure to give them extra attention to get them over the line.
6. Know the types of challenge of implementing project management software
If this is your first time implementing project management software in your business, you need to be aware that things can go awry. Data can be lost when transferring it from one tool to another. As mentioned previously, you might need to change your approval workflow to suit the new tool. It's important then that you familiarise yourself with some of the risks of implementing software. It's a good idea to talk to your vendor about this as they've probably seen every challenge there is.
Once you know what some of the risk are, you can be better prepared. For example, ensure your data is backed up before the migration. Familiarise yourself with the approval workflow feature in the early stages so that you can ensure your approval workflow fits.
7. Monitor the tool once it is implemented to measure it's progress and success
Once you have implemented your project management software, you want to ensure you are reaping the benefits of the tool. Be sure to talk frequently with users to understand both their challenges and triumphs. You can also login to the system to see how things are tracking. Are approvals and projects on deadline and budget?
Are you seeing less of the challenges you previously had such as bottlenecks in your approval workflow and/or high artwork revisions. Project management tools also have an intuitive reporting feature which enables you to generate WIP reports as well as resourcing and artwork revision reports.
It's probably best to monitor your system six months after its implementation to adequately assess how beneficial it is. This is how you can get the most out of your new project management software.
Our "Switching your project management software" paper offers some great tips. Download your free copy now!