How to Get Your Team to Fall In Love With Project Management Software

How to Get Your Team to Fall In Love With Project Management Software

Steven MacDonald

Whether you’re a small business using Excel to manage your activities, or work for a global brand and use Microsoft Project to oversee your marketing campaigns, you’re likely to be using several communication methods to share, upload and exchange information across your organization.

And as the number of communication channels continues to grow, we’re starting to live in a world on communication channel overdose!

Trying to stay up to date on a project, brochure launch and marketing campaign can be a job in itself. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Research has found the most organizations share information in several channels, and mainly through email or in person verbally. In fact, email is by far the most popular channel to share updates in.

There’s a better way to stay on top of things

Organizations will spend more on collaboration tools in 2014 as they look for ways to make their team more efficient. Some of the biggest brands in the world are seeing the benefits of using project management software. And you can too.

If you haven’t moved to the cloud yet, you soon will. SaaS (service-as-a-software) spending is now expected to reach $3 trillion in 2015, and as much as $2.8 billion of that is spent on project management software.

And just like all new software you purchase, project management has its implementation challenges. Some of the most common challenges are:

  • Your team doesn’t use the software
  • Everyone is used to using email
  • The team thinks the software is optional
  • You don’t know how often your team uses the software

The common theme here is the end-user and user adoption rates. In fact, most IT projects fail because of the same reason. We are creatures of habit, and don’t like to use a new software.

And I get it. We live in a world full of Skype, email, SMS, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on. It seems like an endless list of username and passwords we have to remember.  But don’t write it off as there are many benefits in using project management software.

8 Steps to Get Your Team to Fall in Love with Project Management Software

It is human nature that makes people resistant to change and transition to the way we work but, it can be a huge improvement to the work place. To help you manage change within your organization and maximize the adoption rate of your new project management tool, we have created an 8 step plan to help you succeed.

1. Involve your team from the beginning

It’s important to not only involve your team, but product teams and media agencies into the decision process as well. These are the people who will be using the software on a daily basis and will provide excellent insight into tools and requirements.

And by listening to them and noting their feedback, they are more likely to embrace the new system once it has been implemented.

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2. Choose software that is easy to use

When it comes to selecting project management software like Workzone, choose a system that is intuitive and has a user-friendly interface. Look for on-screen training, clearly labeled buttons and tool tips that help you solve any user-issues on your own as this will help drive user adoption. Easy to use is a good start, but don’t cut-back on functionality for simplicity. You still want to be able to do your work better.

3. Explain the key benefits

The reason you are using a project management tool is because it will benefit you and your team. Clearly demonstrate the benefits, for example, tracking the progress of your projects and being to share and store files in one common place.

Teams often find that this kind of tool is implemented solely for the purpose of tracking their every move. That’s simply not the case. Invest explaining how this can benefit them directly.

4. Communicate at every stage of implementation

Communication is the key to any successful project and should flow from top to bottom. It’s important for you to communicate the message of support and expectations for your department. Communicate on a regular basis and feedback should be taken at each level of the roll out.

4. Don’t skip out on training

Even when software is easy to use, you should still involve your team with hands-on training. It may take 30 minutes, or it may take several hours. Senior management and external users should also be included in the training. And once training is complete, issue training material and user guides to the team so that they can refer to if in doubt.

5. You lead, and they will follow

Buy-in has to come from senior management to implement and use the project management software. If your marketing team thinks that using the software is optional, it will lead to failure. This requires a change in culture. Start off by implementing the tool to improve the way you and your team communicate and track projects. As soon as others begin to see the value, they will adopt the system too.

It’s not enough to simply tell your team to use it. You need to use it too! This is a classic “do as I say, not as I do” scenario. If you don’t use it, then how can you expect your team to use it?

7. Be patient, and nurture your team

You are already asking a lot from your team, right?

They’re busy but now you want to ask them to learn a new system. Expect your team to get frustrated as they change their daily work habits, and productivity is likely to suffer and slow down.

You need to be patient with your team, and make sure they have access to someone who truly knows the software (whether that is you or another person). If you don’t nurture them into using it, then they become defensive and never will.

8. Collect and report feedback

Your team’s feedback will be critical to the success of the overall project so once the project management software has been launched, collect feedback on a regular basis from your team and give this feedback to your provider. In most cases, this feedback will make it into a future development, so not only will you be able to see your suggestions being acknowledged but you will also be able improve your productivity at the same time.

Conclusion

Getting your team to use any new tool is a difficult task, with adoption rates for new software as low as 30%. Most projects fail to start due to technical limitations but it’s easy to get started with project management software and you don’t need to install anything. The struggle here lies with people – And peoples natural resistance to change.

Focus on your team and not just the tool. The most important factor for software success is getting your team to use it.