There is no doubt that people are the heart of your organization. Their expertise, dedication, and passion are what allow the organization to achieve its business goals. Your employees are authorities on how to do their job best and without them, your organization would probably accomplish very little, if anything at all. Taking this into account, it’s a good idea to consider your employees when making a major change with your PMO processes and toolset.
Outgrowing Your Current Solution
Over time, it is normal to outgrow the tools you are using in your PMO to manage the project portfolio and resource capacities. If you are looking to make a change, it probably means your PMO is maturing and now has the capability to take on bigger and better things! When introducing a new tool into your organization, however, you might feel some push back from your stakeholders. This resistance may be even stronger when they are very comfortable with the tool they've been using, for instance, Excel spreadsheets. While it may be tempting to take this resistance personally after all the hard work you put into the research and identification of the right software, this “push back” is incredibly common. According to Altimeter’s 2018 State of Digital Transformation, 26% of organizations said ‘resistance to change’ was one of the top challenges for digital transformation initiatives. For a successful software implementation, managing this resistance to change is critical for success. How do you minimize resistance from teams when introducing a new software solution for your PMO and ensure they can still work in the ways that make sense for their positions?
Why Do People Resist Technological Change?
There are many reasons why people in your organization may resist technological change, even if the benefits far outweigh the costs. Here are some select reasons why employees in your organization may not be thrilled about a new software implementation.
Desire to Stick with What They Know
When PMOs are first getting started, they often adopt a spreadsheet-based PPM or resource management solution. It makes sense! Excel — or spreadsheet solutions like it — are easy to use and flexible. In addition, most employees are well versed in its functionality. When learning that a new software may supplement or completely replace their tried-and-true spreadsheets, your teams may feel their day-to-day way of working is being threatened. This can be said for other, more robust software solutions as well.
Sometimes the pain points of a current process or software solution are realized at an enterprise level and don’t directly affect resource managers, team leads and/or project managers. This means that without properly communicating the current challenges as well as the benefits of the new software, they won't see the value. Your teams may be left wondering why they should adopt this new software and — from their perspective — work harder for the same results.
Lack of Trust
Trust is key for successfully managing people, and the same can be said for managing their reactions to change. Without a strong foundation of trust towards decision-makers, people may not be confident that important decisions — like implementing a new software — are made with their best interests in mind.
Too Much Change at Once
Too much change at once is hard to handle in any aspect of life, personal or professional. If your homeowner's association decides to suddenly implement new rules concerning property maintenance, pet size, lawn decorations and occupancy limits of your home, you would probably be overwhelmed with trying to comply with these new restrictions.
This goes for our professional lives as well. If your PMO is completely changing their processes, organizational structure AND software, people are going to have a difficult time adjusting.
Your team may not feel the software selected for your PMO is the right fit. They may be especially resistant if they think it doesn’t have the right features to address their pain points, will significantly change their way of working, or increase maintenance time.
How to Increase Employee Buy-In for New Software
Implementing new software successfully while managing change can be tricky, but not all hope is lost. Here are some ways to manage resistance and increase buy-in for a new software solution — recommended by Meisterplan experts.
Involving the people who will regularly use the new tool not only builds trust, but also prevents system dissatisfaction later in the process. Show you value the opinions of your teams by inviting them to participate in the selection process or demo of the new software. Provide a space for them to share their concerns and/or feedback to ensure their voices are heard.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. As mentioned above, poor communication can easily be the downfall of a great software implementation project. When implementing a new software in your PMO, make sure your leaders are vocal supporters of the selected solution. Remember to articulate the organization’s pain points and the software benefits clearly, so that people from all levels of the organization will understand the purpose behind this change.
Your teams won't become experts overnight! To ensure everyone is successfully onboarded to the new software solution, provide training and support for your teams. Consider nominating a champion to represent the software implementation so people know where they can go with questions or concerns. This is also not a “set it and forget it” kind of situation either. Ongoing education and training guarantees employees continuously become more comfortable with the new software solution over time.
When implementing your new software, set expectations around the timeline, changes to the current process, what outcomes will be immediately realized and what benefits might take a while. This way, people working with your PMO can better prepare for the change you are making and understand what it will look like.
Don’t Overwhelm Your People with Change
To prevent creating overwhelming change when implementing software in your organization, our experts recommend utilizing the minimum viable prototype (MVP) concept. Typically used in engineering spaces, an MVP is a product that has the minimum feature set needed to satisfy its users. By treating your new software solution as an MVP, a PMO can quickly prove the concept for the new software with an imperfect solution and then make improvements as feedback is given. This continuous iteration not only helps the PMO realize benefits fast, but it also allows for change to happen a little bit at a time.
Let Teams Work the Way They Want with Meisterplan
Minimize resistance to change when implementing a new tool for your PMO by choosing Meisterplan! An intuitive software solution for project portfolio and resource management, Meisterplan is quick to implement and lets teams work the way they want.
With Meisterplan’s Quick Import, project managers and team leads can easily copy and paste data from existing spreadsheets and import it directly into Meisterplan. To update your portfolio information, export your Meisterplan data with our Excel Export, edit the Excel file and re-import the data without any need for reformatting. This roundtrip process ensures your people can still work with their tried-and-true spreadsheets, while reaping the benefits of a robust software solution. Our many integration options also allow your teams to continue to use the project management and collaboration tools that work best for them.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Spreadsheet-based solutions may be a great option for new PMOs looking to get started quickly but they can create pain-points with long-term project portfolio management and resource planning. In Meisterplan’s upcoming LIVE webinar, learn;
- Why PMOs often struggle with scaling their spreadsheet solutions in the face of portfolio growth
- How to seamlessly evolve away from Excel
- How to improve visibility and reduce complexity within your project portfolio with a lean software solution
Reserve your spot for the LIVE Meisterplan webinar on Thursday, April 28th.