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07/29/2009

Another Implementation Problem

Here is another common project management software implementation problem: no organizational support. I'm sure you have never experienced that one! How does this manifest itself? Sometimes openly, and sometimes more stealthily. Sometimes you are flat out told that the organization is not going to implement a project management software system in the first place. But other times, and I dare say more commonly, there are manifestations of this during the actual implementation. For example, people do not have time to work on the implementation or be trained; they are not interested in setting up the right processes; other priorities get in the way.



Organizational support and management buy-in is very important to be strategically successful with a project management software implementation (as with just about anything). What can you do in this case? I don't believe there is a simple black and white answer, but I do have some observations and suggestions:

Implement where you do have support
You may not have support across the entire organization, but you very well may have support within an individual group or department. Start there. Keep it simple. Setup the processes and implement the software within that area. Prove it out. Work out the kinks. Demonstrate the value. There is nothing like going to a meeting and being able to answer questions readily with data to back them up when no one else in the room can.

Set simple, attainable goals
You may be trying to be too aggressive and "shooting for the moon" with your implementation when you should start off with simple, attainable goals. In other words, you may need to walk before you run and think in terms of phases instead of doing everything at once. It will be easier (not guaranteed, but easier) to gain support when it doesn't seem like a daunting task to people.

Bide your time
It may simply not be the right time. The organization may not be ready or may have other high priorities that have to take precedence. Bide your time. Be ready. Have your information, pitch, value proposition, etc. ready to go. There will come a time when the organization is ready to listen. I am often amazed at how quickly this can happen. An organization just doesn't seem to want to move, and all of a sudden an event takes place that changes everything and this becomes a high priority. Usually this is some sort of emergency, such as a client threatening to cut ties because of yet another late delivery, or an executive lashing because there is no system or data to explain poor performance. Sometimes it is a new person that comes in at the right level with a mandate to improve productivity and processes. You never know. But be ready, at some point the time will come.
 




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