6 Steps to Prepping Your Staff to Serve on a Software Implementation Project

By Dennis Casey

You deserve a round of applause! 👏 You’ve selected your internal project players based off these guidelines and you’re well on your way to becoming an even stronger partner to your consulting team. Now it’s time to focus your attention on outlining group expectations and projected results. It’s in your best interest to never assume that your internal team understands the full scope of the project outcome until they’re given a roadmap. If your internal project players aren’t given a blueprint of upcoming project milestones or project timelines, completion is at risk. Arm your team with confidence by following these simple steps:

Step #1 | Explain the “why” behind the project.

If you have been dubbed Executive Sponsor, getting organizational buy-in for the digital transformation is key to maximizing future user adoption levels. If you fail to spell out the project’s purpose, goals and the way it fits into your organization’s vision, you’re bound to start experiencing premature levels of project disengagement. Establish a clear-cut visual of project strategy first — your employees will thank you for it later.

Pro Tip: Specify the way you plan to measure holistic project success. This doesn’t mean assigning your whole team a single KPI labeled “Implement Software Successfully.” Discuss with your consulting partner the ways you plan to evaluate specific project phases. For example, within the user adoption phase, set black and white benchmarks that indicate a successful user adoption level versus a not so successful user adoption level.

Step #2 | Familiarize your team with your appointed key project leads.

Do your best to identify major project leadership positions like the Executive Sponsor and Management-level Subject Matter Experts and take the time to explain how responsibility, authority and accountability is being issued to all project players throughout all milestones. Don’t forget to gently remind them that although C-level executives made the original call to partner with consulting experts and tailor a software solution to meet your needs, they won’t necessarily abdicate from all project efforts. They’ll continue to monitor project progress intently from afar, but will more than likely steer clear of in-the-weeds, day-to-day activity and will be monitoring project progress intently. Establish and communicate clear and distinct responsibilities for all project team members so all stakeholders understand ownership and accountabilities for all project tasks.   

Pro Tip: Recognize decision-makers ahead of time so that critical project needs are met in a timely fashion.

Step #3 | Get your team well acquainted with project timelines.

Repeat after me: Due dates are always relevant. Your consulting partner evaluates a portion of their success on whether or not they hit designated deadlines, so it is in your best interest to coach your key project players to operate the same way.

Pro Tip: Condition your team to standardize a status reporting template and process. This way, there is clear visibility into trackable project efforts.

Step #4 | Make day-to-day operational and functional changes for the sake of the project.

Make sure that you address daily logistical changes if your project requires internal team members to travel or go as far as to reorganize office seating arrangements to accommodate greater cross-collaboration between project teammates if it promotes efficient collaboration and a more effective work environment.

Step #5 | Clearly define team expectations.

Whether your project players are expected to perform their current duties or are being completely reassigned to solely focus on project implementation, it is important to adequately define each person’s role, responsibilities and success measurement within each project phase. Not only is this key to ensuring project success, it’s employee retention best practice 101. If your employees don’t feel accountable, they won’t feel valued and they could leave as a result. Some project life spans are two months while others are two years, and your employee’s development and output is as important to them as it is to you.

Step # 6 | Emphasize why driving communication is important, now more than ever.

Shockingly, it isn’t difficult for a consulting team and a client to be on different pages within a project. This is because CRM implementations can be highly complex and often require  multi-faceted involvement from several departments. Sales, marketing, customer service, IT etc., need to have a firm understanding of their department project objectives and how they relate to the organization’s overall objectives.

Prepping your internal project staff with the appropriate tools and priming them to take on the  right mindset are the most effective ways you can promote future project success. Want more tips on how you can ready your team to adopt and promote your new technology? Talk to one of Canpango’s consulting experts today to discuss your options.

Dennis is an experienced business and consulting executive having spent the last 20+ years in the technology sector, most of which was with emerging companies. Utilizing his diverse experience Dennis is often the “go to” guy when it comes to navigating change, establishing operational imperatives, or just plain getting something done. He gets no greater satisfaction than helping staff progress in their careers and mentoring new managers as they emerge as leaders.

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