How to Boost Acceptance of Your Project Management Software

Projects are often complex and confusing. The tasks themselves can be difficult and the number of contributing employees, roles and departments can be large. It’s good if you use a project management software that helps you with your project work. But it’s bad if this software is not accepted by your project participants. What can you do to increase acceptance of your project management software so that you can more easily reach your project goals?

Reaching goals

Which goals connect your with the use of your project management software? And which goals do your users have?

You are not alone

Imagine you have deployed a project management software and, with a few exceptions, none of your staff use the tool. You used it to create an extensive requirements catalog, define longlists and later on shortlists, and made your decision. A decision on the supposed best software. Of course, you know that software deployment fails and that the diversity of features of many tools leads to more of a burden that a relief for employees. Now you are surprised that the desired advantages have not occurred, not even for you. Especially because you have involved many employees from different areas in the selection. You are not alone. This happens to a lot of firms. Before you ask what you can do about this grievance, you should ask yourself what the cause of this lack of acceptance within your firm is.

The reason for scarce acceptance of your project management software

The efficient completion of projects is an important goal for many businesses. For an individual team member, this view is often too abstract. A project management software that just follows the abstract goal and achieves little personal benefit will absolutely not be accepted by users. In such cases, working with software is quickly understood as an additional, strenuous obligation. If the users don’t have much experience in project management and in handling the relevant project management software, the rejection will be even stronger. In individual cases it can lead to a personally sensed loss of status or the concern of additional transparency or even to total rejection.

Which factors should then, on the contrary, be supported to reach a better rate of acceptance?

  • Acceleration of individual work,
  • Currency of contents and results,
  • Customizing processes – so adapting the software to the company and not the company to the software,
  • The integration of adjacent areas like requirements, changes, tests, risks, etc. with interfaces,
  • Intuitive service and navigation (the longer the software is used, the more this point fades into the background, but at the beginning of the usage, this point is important.),
  • Internal help with questions about the software and
  • Quick support from the manufacturer with questions and problems – ideally in the same language and the same time zone.

Opportunities to protect your investment or to make a better one next time

In daily business it is difficult to talk to each individual employee to determine their personal needs. It is, however, possible to speak to representatives of roles, spokespersons for areas or opinion leaders so as to identify individual benefits. That is a lot of effort. But what is the alternative? Have you already paid enough money for a project management software and not reached your desired goals? Only if you support your employees with software instead of draining them, can you achieve the acceptance and goals you desire.

How can you support your employees now? Training or refreshers in already implemented software might make sense – of course, coordinated with the prior knowledge and the individual tasks of the user. Ideally, with business-specific example cases. Have you already developed a user key? And do you also have time to regularly share and expand your knowledge? If you want to lead such measures then that will, of course, also cost time and money. And what is the alternative here? You can save the effort and, as a business, write off the investment in your project management software.

Summary

As a business you can easily increase the acceptance of your project management software if you answer the question the software’s benefit from the users’ perspective. From roles to areas, departments and beyond. And not just once during the procurement phase, but repeatedly. This way you can protect your already incurred investments or reach goals durably when deploying a new project management software.

Michael Schenkel believes in useful tools, that support users in their work and that provide a common working environment for all types of roles in a project. He became a member of the microTOOL family more than fifteen years ago and took over the position of head of marketing for about half a decade. In October 2017 he moved on to a new adventure and we wish him all the best on this new path.

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