Here’s the funny thing about adopting new project management software: it’s actually a major project in and of itself. And, the bigger your organization, the more daunting the process can be.
Of course, a successful project management implementation will ultimately help streamline your operation and maximize efficiencies across departments — which is good for team member morale, client satisfaction, and your company’s bottom line. That’s why it pays to make sure you have a solid project management implementation process in place before you begin the software rollout.
Read on to discover our top tips for introducing new PM software to your crew and getting the most from your next project management system update!
How to implement project management software
1. Conduct an assessment
As with any project you undertake, the first step in implementing a new PM system is conducting a proper assessment of your company’s needs. Why upgrade your project management platform in the first place? Why now? Answering these important questions will also help you forecast what the project’s ROI, or return on investment, should be. Remember: it’s going to take time, capital, and resources to procure and implement the new software, so the costs need to be justified.
2. Find the right software
Once you’ve determined exactly what you need from a PM software, you’ll be better prepared to narrow down the field of providers. Depending on the size of your company and the scope of your business needs, you may benefit from organizing a software evaluation team consisting of representatives from all departments and levels — from the C-suite down to the first-line team members.
3. Plan and prep for project launch
Just like any other project you’ll undertake, project management implementation requires proper preparation and planning prior to execution. Your implementation strategy should, at minimum, include a complete timeline, a communication plan, and a software training plan, as well as defined roles and responsibilities for every member of the project team.
4. Execute the project management implementation phase
In the execution phase, you’ll actually make the transition from your old project management system to the new platform. That means completing data conversions, ensuring your IT service desk is prepped, and having a contingency plan in place so that business operations can continue should something go wrong during the transition.
How to introduce new project management software to staff
Another key component of a successful software rollout is dealing with change management and resistance from staff members. Not everyone in your organization will be thrilled about having to learn and use a new system — but you can counterbalance this by designating power users within each department who can help mitigate pushback, answer questions, and generally advocate for the new system.
Read more in our guide: Change Management Processes.
Of course, it’s best if you can facilitate buy-in from senior and middle managers first. Their team members may respond more positively to change if they see the software’s effectiveness first-hand and hear it explained in non-technical jargon by their immediate supervisors.
It’s also helpful to introduce a new system to individual departments and teams by explaining exactly what’s in it for them. How will it make their particular jobs and workflows easier and more time-efficient? While they may care about the benefits to the company as a whole, they’ll be more apt to accept change once they understand the positive impacts the software will have on their personal day-to-day duties.
Taking a look through process mapping
On a related note, if you haven’t mapped out your organization’s processes already, then the transition period between an old and new project management software is a prime opportunity to do so. With process mapping, you’ll be able to visualize how information and ideas flow within your organization and individual teams, and refine that flow for maximum efficiency.
Here’s a quick overview of what process mapping looks like:
- Inventory your organization’s activities: what processes, projects, and deliverables do your teams routinely deal with?
- Prioritize those activities: what processes have the greatest impact on project goals and targets?
- Identify the triggers and deliverables: where do workflows begin and end?
- List the steps: what actual steps need to be taken for each process to go from trigger to final deliverable?
- Remove major roadblocks: with your processes all laid out, you can easily identify and remove the biggest obstacles and efficiency killers.
To learn more about process mapping and find more actionable tips on preparing your digital workspace, check out the Wrike Deployment Guide.
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