So you made the decision to adopt a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution for your organization? Great choice! But the work is not over. Once you’ve decided which PSA tool is right for your business, you now need to approach the implementation process strategically in order to unlock the full potential of the solution. That strategy must include processes and practices that will encourage employee adoption of the solution, since a tool is only as powerful as the people who wield it.
Here are three strategies to ensure that the people who will use your PSA solution are not only excited about the new tool and eager to make use of it, but will also be equipped with the knowledge and training they require in order to use it wisely and maximize your investment into the product:
Get buy-in from your team early by outlining the benefits of adopting the new solution
In order to achieve wide-spread adoption and support of the new solution, getting employee buy-in right from the start of the process is key. Clearly identify and outline for your team the reasons why your organization is investing in this solution and how its functionality will be of benefit to them and help solve problems or challenges they currently face.
Be sure to establish and share the business benefits you are expecting to achieve after go-live. This can include benefits such as achieving scalability, reducing overhead, or increasing business predictability.
Allow your team an opportunity to describe current challenges they face specific to their individual departments, and explain to them how they can use the new solution to help them overcome those challenges.
Start by training a few select people on your team, and make sure you have representation from every department that will ultimately use the solution
Approach your implementation with a select team of employees that are excited to try out the new solution and that represent different stakeholders in your organization.
A PSA implementation team that includes stakeholders from only the services team, for example, will miss critical requirements from sales, resourcing and the back office, which will slow down adoption across the organization. If you run a consulting organization, involving someone who understands the needs of your consultants in the project planning will go a long way to ensuring consultants will use the tool when it goes live. Take time to understand who will actually be utilizing the tool and include representatives from those different areas of the organization in the actual implementation process so any potential challenges can be raised in a proactive manner.
Encourage feedback and check-in regularly with your team to address concerns
Once you’ve gone live with the solution, don’t just sit back and hope that your employees are adopting the tool to its full capacity. Schedule monthly check-ins where you sit down with various departments and ask questions about how they’re using the tool, where it’s benefiting them most, where it isn’t solving their challenges, how it could be used better, areas where they could use some additional training, etc.
Doing so will encourage your employees to test new features of the tool and find new ways to use it, and they will trust that their feedback is being taken seriously and that the organization is interested in helping make their jobs easier by maximizing the effectiveness of the solution.
Have You Heard This Somewhere : “We have to do more with less!”
If you constantly feel pressure to meet deadlines with your available resources, you’re not alone. The idea of doing “more with less” is a constant challenge for businesses in all industries. One common approach is to make better to-do lists, hoping project visibility will help your team work as efficiently as possible. That kind of work falls under “project management,” which is the art and science of “getting stuff done.” It’s important and can absolutely help you get more done in the time you have.
Sometimes, however, there’s just too much to do and not enough hours to get everything done.
If that’s how you feel most of the time, there’s another term you should know: project portfolio management (PPM). If project management is the art of getting stuff done, project portfolio management is the art of choosing what to work on in the first place.
Project Portfolio Management: The Art of Choosing What to Work On
Some companies have no process for determining what projects their teams should be working on. This can cause all kinds of problems, including:
- Intense internal competition for financial and staffing resources Lots of small projects going all at once Projects with frequent status changes (on-hold, high-priority, on-hold)
- Frequent rework and high costs with 3rd-party vendors
- Teams that feel overworked and underappreciated (and managers too!)
If any of those describe your business, PPM principles can help you better focus your team on the work that really matters.
Here are 5 strategies to consider:
1. Understand Where Project Requests Come From
Sometimes your team receives a work request without much context for why the work is needed. In those cases, the title of the person making the request often determines how high of a priority the project is. But in a context where your team already has more to do than time available, it’s good to at least stop and understand what’s driving the request. The project might be:
- Part of a larger strategic initiative for the company.
- A response to a problem with your company’s product.
- A response to an internal problem that’s keeping other people from accomplishing their work.
- A response to a move made by your competition.
- An opportunity with an uncertain future benefit.
Understanding what kind of request you’ve received will help you determine which projects to accept. When a “fire-drill” request comes in, accepting the project probably means putting everything else on hold. Having a PPM evaluation process in place will help you decide whether that’s the right thing to do or not.
2. Get Clear About Value and Capability
Here are two questions to ask when you receive a new project request:
- How much value will the project bring to the organization?
- Is my team capable of successfully delivering this initiative?
Try to only accept projects that you know will bring value to your organization. If you’re not sure, go back to the person who requested the project and ask questions until you know. It can also be tempting to take on a big project to give your team members a chance to “grow” their skills. But there’s a fine line between letting your people grow and simply not having the right skills on your team to accomplish a project.
3. Be Willing to Shut Down Projects
If you haven’t had a PPM process in place, it’s likely you have too many projects going on. Start by simply listing out everything that’s happening on your team or in your department. You might be surprised to find how many unfinished projects you really have going. Some of those projects won’t be worth continuing.
4. Be Open About Priorities
Shutting down projects means someone’s request is going to go unmet. That’s a difficult thing, especially in organizations that have never said “no” to projects in the past. Be open with both the project owners and the members of your team. You can’t expect someone to be happy when his or her project gets shut down. But if you let everyone know what’s happening and why, there’s a better chance they’ll understand.
5. Embrace Uncertainty In Your Decision Making Process
Finally, when trying to prioritize, it’s common to make accounting projections. You might do a payback period analysis or try to calculate Net Present Value (NPV) for a project, then rank each project by the numbers. The problem with this approach is that it can hide assumptions. Some projects have low uncertainty. You’ll know how long the project will take and what benefit you can expect from it. These are sometimes called “bread and butter” projects. Other projects will require innovation. You won’t know exactly how long the project will take or what benefit to expect. These are high uncertainty projects. Accounting projections like NPV can hide the inherent uncertainty in your projects.
Instead of giving each project a single value, present a range of possible values instead. That way you’ll be able to see which projects have a relatively certain benefit and which ones are more uncertain but might have greater payoff if all goes well.
You only have so much time and so many resources.
If your company is struggling to “get more done” with your current staff and budget, a Klient PSA might be the solution to improve your project management and project portfolio management skills can help.