Companies interested in innovation require cross-functional team collaboration to thrive. Without the proper support, however, it’s hard to get everyone on the same page about roles, timelines, and project goals. To enable your team to successfully collaborate, you need a tool that organizes projects from start to finish. A project management system removes collaboration roadblocks and keeps projects running smoothly.
Implementing a new project management system isn’t as simple as just picking a solution. You need to spend time finding the right collaboration tool and appropriately integrating it into your environment. Take a look at the tips below to help you successfully set up a new project management system for your team.
1. Identify Your Challenges
All project management systems are different. Some are internally facing, while others are client-facing. Some offer detailed to-do lists, while others have handy visualization tools to help you see your project’s progress. Since each system has its own unique capabilities, it’s important that you identify your organization’s challenges before choosing a solution.
You can start this process by asking yourself what issues currently keep your team from collaborating smoothly. Additionally, consider any constraints you need to work within, like budget, team size, and existing software. Once you’ve outlined pressing issues and company constraints, you’ll know what criteria you should look for when choosing a project management system.
2. Demo Each System
You can’t know which project management system will work the best before using it. Luckily, most software vendors offer a free trial before you make a purchase. If a specific software application doesn’t offer a demo period, it could indicate that the company isn’t confident in its product. In that case, it’s better to pass up the system rather than waste your time and money.
To get a good idea of which tool offers the best fit, test each candidate with your team. Give different employees varying permission levels and create a list of tasks and subtasks. The more realistic you can keep this test run, the better. Doing so will make it easier to see how each platform will perform in a typical work day.
3. Solicit Feedback
A new project management solution isn’t helpful if no one uses it. That’s why making your employees a key part of the decision-making process is critical. Doing so will help you identify which solution does the best job solving project management pain points.
When gathering feedback, it’s important that you interview those who tested the various platforms. Take the time to chat with people from multiple departments. This will give you a more holistic view of whether or not a new project management solution will be successful. For example, your sales reps may love a certain software system while your marketers find it clunky. If both teams are using the software to collaborate, they both need to find the program helpful.
4. Predict Likely ROI
Onboarding new project management software comes with some upfront costs. Prices can fall anywhere between $600 to $10,000. However, the right project management solution can help projects get done faster and easier, making your employees more productive and boosting profits. Once you know which solutions your team found most helpful, you can predict the ROI of each to identify a winner.
When determining the potential ROI of project management software, you need to consider more than just the tool’s cost. If you’re currently using time-tracking software, compare how long project hand-offs used to take versus total hours spent with the new tool. By ascribing an hourly cost to employee time saved, you’ll start to see how each tool can improve your bottom line. And don’t forget intangible benefits, like employee happiness, which are also important factors.
5. Train Your Team
One of the most challenging hurdles companies face when onboarding a new project management system is the employee learning curve. Even if team members are excited about new tools, changing the way they manage projects and learning a new system are hurdles. To forestall frustration and ease integration, provide them with system training.
Before you begin, determine what training each team member will need. An employee with advanced permission levels will likely require more instruction than an employee with basic permission levels. Ensure that all employees who interact with this new system have several hours to familiarize themselves with the software. If you find that people are encountering problems, you may need to set up a guided demo with the software vendor.
6. Create a Knowledge Bank
Software training isn’t a one-and-done process. Learning new software can be overwhelming, and chances are your employees won’t remember all the details. Additionally, new employees won’t be familiar with your chosen project management system and will need their own training. This is where a knowledge bank comes in handy.
A knowledge bank is an internal resource employees can consult when they have questions about software or processes. These resources may include workflow documents, checklists, instructional videos, and FAQ pages. Providing employees with these resources promotes ongoing education and prevents project roadblocks down the line.
Cross-functional team collaboration is essential for innovative businesses. With the help of a project management system, you can support communication and improve your team’s productivity. However, if you want to set a new system up for success, you need to choose the right solution and implement it correctly.