So, when we are working to ensure the widest and easiest and fastest way to full enterprise adoption of a new process or tool we need it to be something that is easy to understand and something that will actually make their work lives and jobs easier. Hopefully it will even save them time on processes they are currently performing.
Here I'm going to present four key things or concepts to consider when choosing new project management related software when you are looking for quick and easy acceptance by the mass user base in your organization. Be thinking about your own list of tips and tricks and prepare to share your thoughts after reading...
Learning curve should be a high consideration. These easiest way to turn off the masses in the organization is to give them something that they can't jump in and use quickly. You'll lose half of your potential user base if you force them to turn away from their demanding work and learn something new. We like to use new things...sometimes...but we don't like to have to take a long time to learn how to use them and we hate to read about how to use them even more.
Choose a tool with a high collaboration element. A tool that fits a big collaboration need can often be an easier tool to gain adoption throughout the organization. If it fills a need and immediate benefit is seen, then adoption can be that much easier. The struggles begin when you try to push a tool on the masses that doesn't seem to fit an obvious need. They ask “why?” and stick with whatever they've been using before. In my early days of coding I had colleagues who never learned how to type and I watched painfully as they coded with two fingers. They were fast, but they were also 30 years older than me and they were never going to change because they didn't see the need. You have to fit a need to gain change. A good collaboration tool can do that.
Customized reporting and one size fits all reporting. A tool that can offer very customizable reporting and allow different end users to customize their own reporting to support their info needs will be a tool that gets some of the widest and quickest enterprise user adoption. The ability to put together a one size fits all status reporting situation for a very busy project manager that will satisfy all key stakeholders is going to be very desirable and beneficial to all the project managers running engagements in the organization. And let's face it...they are the first ones you need full adoption of the software from. Project managers are often using two or three or more different tools to manage and track projects with. Having a do-everything software tool that offers great one size fits all reporting is going to be very beneficial and highly desirable. You provide that and you'll have the project managers shouting praises of a new project management software tool from the rooftops to the masses in the organization.
Dashboards! Going beyond one size fits all reporting – which probably benefits the tired project manager more than anyone – consider the importance of dashboards. A good dashboard can tell the health story of a project, a business unit, a division...even an entire organization. The executives love it because it can give them all the information they need or have time to see in about five minutes, if it's done right. Project sponsors love it because they can feel good about their project in a glance...AND have something to give to their own C-levels to ensure that the project you are delivering and they are paying for is making progress and staying on track (hopefully). A good dashboard that includes some green – yellow – red project health status for a nice quick glance is always a good idea.
Summary / call for input
The goal with any software, program or process is easy and wide acceptance and adoption. Everything costs money, and slow or partial adoption of anything new means you've wasted time and money. You need everyone who should be on board to be on board and as quickly as possible.
Readers – what are your thoughts on these four tips? Do you agree? What would you add or what tricks have you used in your project management experiences to gain user adoption of a new tool or process?