When it comes to the construction industry, having a project plan in place to ensure each project runs smoothly is crucial to the success of that project. Well the same goes with Software. When implementing an integrated software package, the most common complaint is, “we need more training”. While training is the most commonly thought software implementation issue, there are four main concerns that must be addressed to ensure a successful implementation process. The concerns are leadership, communication, project management, and change management.
Issues Surrounding Leadership
Leaders need to set realistic goals and expectations upfront, before the implementation process begins to take place. This is the best way to garner positive results, as all parties involved will have a clear understanding of what is required for a successful implementation. Also, planning for what resources will be needed during the implementation process is essential to the success of the plan. Your employees are busy with their daily tasks as it is, therefore if the process is too difficult or unclear, the implementation is more likely to suffer than anything else.
Ensuring everyone is aware and understands the full scope of the implementation plan eliminates the element of surprise and allows employees to prepare for what lies ahead. By systematically communicating and releasing information about the software implementation process, your employees will be more aware and have a clearer understanding of the implementation progress. In addition, it is important to communicate why the change is being made and how it will positively affect the employees.
The project manager keeps track of all aspects of the job and is relied upon to make sure that job goes according to plan. The same ideology should be applied to implementing a new software. While there is a team handling the implementation process, there should be an implementation ‘project manager’ to keep the process on track. This individual can ensure that the right employees are handling the appropriate tasks and that each person is understanding how the new software works.
With any growing business, change becomes inevitable. With change however, it sometimes creates aversion amongst those who are resistant to moving away from their old ways. For example, some employees may be more comfortable using spreadsheets that they already know well, as opposed to learning a new software. Change is not an easy process it needs to be understood and managed in a way that people can cope effectively with it. Consult your employees about the implementation, have each one lead a certain part of the training process and report back to the project manager. Knowing the strengths and limitations of your business and your people is vital to a successful implementation process.
It is easy to point to training as the main reason why implementation projects struggle, but if all of the underlying concerns mentioned above are taken into consideration, the process will be a successful one.