Every smart project manager wants to make their operation simpler, streamlined, and more efficient. The simpler you can make your project management the better, to leave room for those all-important big decisions – and taking the leap with an awesome project management tool is where it happens.

Yet, a sweep of most companies that have recently got on board with software will show workers refusing or being hesitant to use the software or certain (often crucial) features.

While I know few people who would deliberately make their own lives more difficult, springing new tools on teams without their involvement or explanation doesn’t lead to successful adoption.

This is an unnecessary shame, considering how much precious time and money goes into considering, trying, and then purchasing a project management platform.

Failed adoption of software can set the business back (or stagnating, at best) just as much as a flagging project. It can lead to loss of confidence in those driving the implementation and, in the worst cases, loss of jobs. In fact, it can help to think of software integration as a project in itself.

So why don’t teams use their perfectly good new project management tools?

For a start, the tool may be the wrong fit for the business, and therefore not deliver the anticipated results.

Or, there is no rollout plan and team members are not even part of the initial trial and selection process that assures buy in. Otherwise, managers get too busy and don’t equip their teammates with the right training and support tools.

To help alleviate the above, here are some tips to help your team to embrace and use your crisply purchased PM software, for optimal project performance.

1. Fit the project management tool to your needs through a test drive and employee input.

Many companies struggle with adopting digital solutions because the software is just too complicated to use. The best solution for you has intuitive workflow and configuration, with built-in intelligence that anticipates what you need to get your work done. The best software also gives you a set of functions that can be easily added to over time.

Before you decide on a system, give it a test drive to ensure that the solution is simple and requires minimal support from IT. Involve team members in the evaluation and approval process, and communicate the benefits of using the tool. It’s likely the planning software can make their job better and can even improve their career. Help the selection process matter to them, and not just the organisation.

2. Ensure mobility in your project management tool

A mobile-optimized platform will allow your team to be more productive and efficient wherever they are. By using their smartphones and tablets to access files and information and collaborate, they can be anywhere in the world, in any time zone and they will still be able to access the information they need, avoiding lengthy time zone delays for international projects. This gives your team the flexibility to work remotely and boosts productivity by providing more opportunities to get work done.

3. Integrate the software with other applications

For most companies, sharing project data with other apps can be critical for project costing and expense reimbursement, payroll and other processes. Fortunately, most cloud-based project tracking software includes data sharing.

4. Find your champion

Without strong adoption, your new system will provide diminishing value. In order to achieve high levels of adoption (and therefore, ROI), find a strong champion at a management level who loves the product and can make sure that your team members have access to training and other resources they need. The champion needs to enforce adoption and model the right behavior by using the tool for management reviews or meetings.

Signs of good team adoption include: regular tracking of important data and project insight that enhances project decision-making and business strategy; better reliance on a project’s schedule and increased collaboration.

Of course, the vendor should play an active role in helping you introduce your project management software to your organisation. If they’re not supporting you with training and learning materials, you’re talking to the wrong vendor. Sciforma, for instance, offers training through a variety of channels including face-to-face, video conferencing, YouTube videos and on-line classes.

5. Momentum, not a miracle

Many times people expect PM software to fail in delivery due to false expectations – yet PM software should support and automate good project management processes, not replace them. Your software should realistically provide three basic functions: data acquisition and management, decision support, and reporting and graphing.

Project Management Tools and Templates are critical components for consistent project management delivery and research shows that they help improve the success rate for projects. If you are struggling with the issue of consistency in the management of your projects, there is a significant opportunity to improve your productivity, market share and shareholder value through better software adoption.

And if you need to track time in your projects, you can still do it with Sciforma. Request your demo.

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Maurya Rieder

Maurya is the Director of the Sciforma Australasian office located in Sydney. She is passionate about helping companies manage their portfolio of projects as well as their resources in an empowering way. Main interests: PPM, change management, & team collaboration. Please send thoughts / ideas to mrieder@sciforma.com