The more efficiently project managers can use their project management software, the better off they and their projects will be. As a result, customers or end users will be more satisfied, leading to loyalty and additional sales. But not every project manager knows how to use their software to its fullest, which means they aren’t as efficient as they could be. These tips will help project managers get more out of their software to improve their operations.
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Choose the Right Software
It may seem like a no-brainer, but the best tip we can offer is to make sure you choose the right software to begin with. There are literally hundreds of software products aimed at project managers on the market, each with its own pros and cons. Some of them are rather complicated, so you can expect to have a large learning curve for those. If you need to get up and running quickly, try to choose software that has a lot of features, but is intuitive to use.
Keep in mind that teams will only use software that doesn’t overwhelm them and actually makes their job easier, at least in the beginning. If you select a product that allows you to add features as you master the basics, you can continue to improve your project management process while giving your team something they can use right away.
No matter which software you end up choosing, be sure to give it a thorough test drive before you actually buy it and deploy it to your project management team. This trial period will tell you if your project managers are going to use the product or if they find it too complicated to learn and/or use. You may have to try two or three products before you find the right fit.
Find a Champion
One of the best ways to get an entire team to adopt software is to have someone who learns everything there is to know about it and champions the product to other employees. Ideally, this should be someone in management who has access to training materials and is able to provide input into the tools the team needs. This way, the champion can act as a liaison between the team and the product developers to ensure the software meets their needs.
The champion should know the software backward and forward before the other team members are trained so they can see how the software is making that person’s job easier. Moreover, the champion can help get everyone up to speed by showing them tips and tricks to using the software to its fullest. And, of course, the champion should have the proper authority to enforce adoption of the software if employees are still reluctant to use it.
Use the Software For Everything It’s Capable of Handling
Teams don’t want to use multiple products if they don’t have to and will stop using a software product if another one offers more ease or efficiency. For this reason, choose a product that has as many features as possible that your team needs and begin using that software for everything it’s capable of handling. For example, most project management products have communication tools built in, but teams might try to circumvent that feature by communicating outside the software using a different product.
This will sabotage your use of the project management software because people will naturally gravitate to what they know. Make sure to define all workflows before you begin using the software to make sure people understand when they are expected to use it and for which purposes. Then, make it as easy as possible to use this software and remove other options if possible.
Properly Train Everyone
Training is really the key to software use. If you want people to use it, they need to be trained on every feature you want them to use. This means developing a comprehensive training program that everyone will attend, even if they only use a part of the software. They should be familiar with at least the basic features that other departments use and all of the advanced features that their own department uses.
You don’t have to get everyone fully trained for the first day of deployment either. An incremental deployment will make sure that bugs and other issues are worked out on a small level so they don’t impact everyone and you can ensure they aren’t repeated for subsequent groups.
No one wants to purchase software only to not use it to its fullest capabilities. Using the tips here will help you get the most out of your project management software.