Help ensure that you implement something that actually gets used and provides value quickly
There are several great enterprise level software applications on the market that provide a robust set of tools to help owners and program managers manage capital construction programs and effectively report off their progress. The best software adoptions have several common success factors. Make sure to follow these five guidelines to make your software implementation a success.
Get leadership involved. If leadership is not committed to the tools procured, the implementation will not succeed. Just like a good parent, leadership must set expectations and enforce them. If people are permitted to continue the status quo, then the status quo will win, regardless of how useful the tool is for managing the program. Have leadership set status update meetings the first 3 to 6 months during adoption and refer to that tool for the updates. Insist on the information be accessible live during that meeting to ensure compliance, and that the most up-to-date information is added to the tool.
Keep it simple and in phases
A lot of teams want to implement the full range of tools available during the initial implementation period. While that can succeed, it makes it much harder to get full buy-in and adoption. Pick the main identified problems and prioritize them. Start with the tools that can address the largest problems your organization faces and implement just those tools. This will provide a much quicker set of successes that can be built upon in future phases.
Know your Stakeholders & get them involved
Do a review of all the people that will touch or be touched by the system you are implementing. You may have already done this during the software selection process, however, do it again. Identify these people, understand their expectations, and consider their needs when configuring the software you are implementing. Involve representatives from the different internal and external players that will interact with the tools in the planning and configuration meetings for the tool. Their involvement with enlist them as cheerleaders to help propel your solution forward.
Don't just notify people when you are ready to train them. Set a plan in place to communicate to both the internal and external stakeholders during each stage of the implementation. Explain early what problems you intend on solving based off the selected solution, and make sure to communicate how the solution you are implementing addresses those challenges. Introductory webinars to the key groups can help them gain familiarity with tools in advance of detailed training sessions.
Review it, learn from it
Perform a lesson learned review 3 months and 6 months after adoption of the application with the core implementation team. Review usage, and performance of the tools in the projects. Determine what additional training opportunities or configuration changes would assist in addressing challenges. Get in the habit of performing a yearly review of the software to make sure you are getting the best return on your investment.
These are common Project Management principles, and if effectively used for software implementations and rollouts, will result in a smooth transition to an effective Project Management tool that will be successful.