Successful project management software implementation adds value to the new system that enables businesses and organizations to quickly take advantage of the process and efficiency improvements by implementing new software.
A great software implementation helps in the following ways:
- Improve business processes.
- Effective personnel roles.
- Better user experience.
- Saves time and money.
- Risk minimization.
- Simplifying online invoicing and creating invoice.
Why implementation fails
Some software implementations fail either before the completion or are entirely discarded soon after the implementation, either way, it results in wasting time and money!
The main causes of the failure could be mismanagement, over-budgeting and being overdue. Others could be virus attacks, infrastructure failures, operational errors, unforeseen environmental errors and the ‘human factor.’
A successful project management implementation can greatly benefit you by streamlining your business and maximizing efficiency. Studies show that over 80 percent of these software implementation projects either fail or get called off before completion due to poor execution, insufficient testing and poor requirements setting among other various reasons.
When implementing project management tools, one should be aware of the risks correlated with such complicated projects. While there is no solid foolproof plan to avoid project management failures, there are some methods that are surely well grounded than others.
10 steps for project management software implementation
In this article, we will discuss 10 steps for successful project management software implementation.
Let’s get started!
1. Understand your business requirements, first!
Define what you want! Better business decisions come from a better understanding of your business requirements. For example, the business requirements of an SaaS startup will be very different to those of a large hotel chain.
Run a business requirement analysis to figure out the business objectives. It can help you to;
- & document the business objectives.
Once you run a business analysis, it will help you segment your business objectives into specific and detailed chunks that everyone on your team understands. As a result, it is easier for you to fix them quickly and therefore the whole process becomes easier.
Two Elements of project management software implementation
At its core project management is based on two elements:
- A solid value proposition.
- Business requirements.
These two elements lay the foundation for the idea of purchasing a new software. Determining the actual business demands is the first step to successfully implementing software.
To make it easier, ask yourself;
- What is my company benefiting from project management software?
- What purpose does it serve for its success?
Once you get an answer to these questions, you can then move ahead with the vendor selection process.
2. Vendor selection process
The estimated project price and the rate should not be the only criteria to choose your vendor. Analyze the capacity of the IT company regarding risk management, development process and the quality of the projects. You can also study the vendor’s portfolio during the year of the business.
Pay attention to the following aspects of the vendor;
- Skills and capabilities of the team.
- Processes and tools they use.
- Quality assurance standards.
- Legal and security matters.
- Company culture.
- Projects completed.
Analyze how deeply the vendor understands your project requirements. You can ask in-depth questions during the pre-screening process. You can’t get a perfect idea about the IT company in one sitting therefore, it’s important to conduct multiple meetings.
Your team should comprise end-users, key experts and your company's top management agents. Furthermore, you can make your team foolproof by bringing in neutral consultants that may give their additional consultation in case anything is overlooked.
Lastly, shortlist your available solutions and choose a vendor.
3. Project launch
Once your vendor is selected, it's time to assign responsibilities among team members. You can assign the responsibilities to the following team members:
- Project supervisors: Assign the supervisors to oversee the overall implementation process. Ask your project supervisors to ensure the entire implementation process runs smoothly. Apart from this, the project supervisors need to play their part in adjusting content as required and directing the process.
- Enlist strong team members: Enlist team members that attribute certain qualities such as;
- Strong communication skills.
- Adequate knowledge of the software.
- A sense of determination to succeed.
- Formal launch announcement: Once the project team is finalized, make a launch announcement letting the organization know who is in charge and undertaking the implementation process.
4. Get into the minor details of project implementation
Once you announce the official launch of your project, it’s time to identify and document the specific business processes that you would be considering during software implementation. The team leads and the business experts would get together to fine-tune the project implementation and identify specific approaches that they might need to implement the project.
Take advantage of process documentation tools to build visual SOPs in half the time.
Then, they can consider which processes need to be retained and fine-tuned and which ones can generate greater revenue and satisfy customers. Make sure to put everything in proper documentation.
5. Software configuration
During this stage, the team leads of the functional team transfer pre-defined business requirements to the technical teams. The technical team ensures management, runs, organizes, and maintains the systems, servers and software to meet the business requirements across all departments.
“Conduct a proper assessment of your company's needs before upgrading your project management platform. This will help you forecast the ROI of the project. It will take time, capital, and resources to procure and implement the new software, so the costs need to be justified.” — Dhaval Sarvaiya, Intelivita.
6. Test software configuration
Validate the configuration of the software to ensure the whole team is on the same page. Both the functional team and the technical team have to agree on some terms and conditions during this stage.
This is done by testing the software configuration and asking the team members to accomplish the task independently. You can leverage the research, data sheets and data sets in this stage.
As you test your software configuration note down each step and take notice of the software bugs or the functionalities and user errors. Later analyze the yes/no options to see whether the software right fits your business requirements or not!
Testing software configuration is important because of the following reasons:
- It showcases whether or not the software application fulfills.
- Determines if it has some serious defects.
- Performance testing of the software.
- Determines the ease to remove bugs.
- Analyzes if the system is efficient for business requirements.
7. User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) provides great insight into UI & UX issues. At this stage, the in-depth end-to-end test is conducted to see the real-world application of the software. The real-world applicability of the software gives the business confidence in whether or not it will meet the business requirements.
It allows the users to validate the application of the software and determine if any changes are required to cope with the business requirements.
You will need a separate testing environment to check the viability of the software. Based on the user acceptance testing new features are introduced and developed. This is important to avoid future software failure after its launch which may cause serious consequences for the business reputation.
Determines software readiness
User Acceptance Testing calculates and determines the readiness of the software. The following steps are involved during this stage;
- Familiarize yourself with the testing requirements and strategies you will be conducting.
- Create a real-world scenario for User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
- Developers can use just a few end users or perform open-end testing including a huge number of end users.
- Document everything begins to end including software bugs, login issues, etc.
- Test, code, retest, code until it gets finalized.
- Actual implementation or transition
Pay attention to the project management plan in action as you start the actual implementation of the software. It will minimize risks as you implement the software.
Alternatively, if you are transitioning to the new software, here’s what you need to do;
The past experiences
Past experiences with your software transitions will give you the;
- What did go well?
- What did not go well?
- What lessons did you learn from the past transition?
8. Onboard your vendor & other stakeholders
Based on their experience, your vendors and stakeholders can share experiences and give you valuable suggestions about the software transition and implementation. They also bring practical information about the end users.
It’s important to include the following aspects as you start the actual implementation & transition:
- Draw up a production environment.
- Identify the last transaction in the old system.
- Work on safe data conversions.
- Develop a user support plan.
9. The crucial point: Going live
In this step, your software goes live from the testing phase to the production phase.
Once your software goes live, it’s when your stakeholders and customers need your involvement the most. You can improve the communication level to answer any instant queries they have.
Doing so will improve your brand credibility & brand value. This is where you should have already stationed the resources at key locations to ensure on-site support as well as in-person support that serves as a morale boost to the entire organization. Moreover, this is what serves as the final key to the success of your project management software goes.
10. Always welcome feedback
Always be open to receiving suggestions and feedback. This will allow you to improve your software implementations. Conduct surveys, ask both open & closed questions and encourage your team and customers to analyze the project software critically. You can also use marketing gamification software to make gathering feedback interactive and attractive.
Besides, don’t shy away from creating a product demo video. It will help you show your target audience the project management software in action. In fact, there is an online video editor that is easy to use. Together this will open room for new strategy changes, better expectations and maximizing the engagement of the team.
Are you ready for project management software implementation?
Project management software implementation is a rigorous process. Consider the above-mentioned steps as you implement or transition your software for a seamless implementation.
Now, ask yourself. How do you ensure you successfully implement the project management software? And after this article, what might you change?