You're reached that point where email and spreadsheets just don’t cut it anymore — that point when the lost attachments and noisy communication of email, as well as the need for constant manual updates on spreadsheets, have moved from being useful to being inefficient. You’re convinced that your team would benefit from proper collaboration tools, but how do you convince your boss?
You need more than a list of cool features that you can’t live without. You need justification for serious investment, with points that can be presented to higher management and maybe even executives. You need to prepare a case for how your current tools are stealing resources (think: time and money) from your organization’s bottom line, and keeping it from achieving high level business objectives at a faster pace.
Here are three benefits to point out to management when you need to convince them that your team needs more efficient collaboration tools:
Prove: Email/Spreadsheets aren't Efficient Collaboration Tools
If you’re not using a project management software or collaboration tool, then you’re probably coordinating projects via emails, spreadsheets, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. While each of these are useful, none of them are robust enough to efficiently manage deadlines, complex to-do lists, collaborative feedback, and team member workloads.
Action: Craft an argument around how formal collaboration tools can reduce the inefficiency of your current system.
You can reference studies on how time is wasted when searching through emails, or when there are too many meetings (see Salary.com's 2014 Wasting Time at Work Survey). Look for stats about how much time workers spend interacting with email (28% of their work week, according to McKinsey Global Institute). Delve into your current struggles with emails that don't provide proper context (which project is this about?), and miscommunications stemming from email threads where multiple people weigh in at the same time, often with conflicting instructions. Cite specific instances when one of your projects broke down due to an email or spreadsheet error.
Demonstrate: How Collaboration Tools Make Past Successes Repeatable
You’ve run successful campaigns and projects before, sure. But do you still have the data connected to those victories? Do you have baseline information on how long production took for the last product release so you can improve the process this time around?
With all your project info in project management software, its ability to record time spent and lessons learned will give your group the ability to document, examine, and duplicate successful programs.
Action: Look at the programs your team needs to repeat or find a specific project that was managed using your current system. Research that project's info (e.g. how long production took, how many people worked on it, etc.), and track the amount of time it takes you to generate a report that you can show your boss. Then try to do the same using a free trial of a collaboration tool like Wrike. Track how long it takes. Present the two reports side by side and contrast ease of use, availability of data, and time spent. Real examples provide real support.
Evangelize: Advantages of Better Collaboration Tools
Finally, discuss the advantages of a collaboration tool: visible task lists help reduce the number of meetings, it’s much more difficult for tasks to fall through the cracks when projects are organized and visible, reports can be more easily generated when all project data is in one system, team members are more accountable for their work when they see their tasks and deadlines in black and white, etc. Think about what a collaboration tool would mean for you and your teamwork.
Action: List the benefits that a collaboration tool like Wrike can give your team. Focus on the advantages the software gives your team.
You can also read case studies of current customers within your industry who are using the software you’re considering. If their use cases are the same, give these to your boss as proof of how a collaboration tool can help your team.
How will you convince your boss you need a better collaboration tool?
Share your wisdom and your past experiences in the comments below!