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How Much Organizational Buy-In Is Needed for Project Management Software Tools to be Successful?

This is a question that I have been contemplating again.  Project management software tools need have buy-in to be successful.  That is especially true of management.  You need to have management buy-in, otherwise no one will use it.  It is not as much true of team members that are further down the "totem pole".  It is certainly great to get their buy-in and we should diligently seek that, but sometimes it does not matter how great a solution is, there will be resistance because it is different.

So do you need organization buy-in throughout an organization in order for a project management software tool to be successful?  Does the CEO need to buy-in to it?  Ideally, the CEO and the entire organization buys into both the software tool and the business processes it supports, and that does happen.  However, often times you might as well play the lottery, especially if it is a large organization.  You will have just as much of a chance of making it happen.  The question is...can you still get value from the tool?

The answer is...it depends.  How big is your organization and what do you want to accomplish with the tool?  Here are some principles for you:

1.  There must be a clear purpose for the project management software tool.  What are you trying to accomplish?  Understanding resource loads?  Providing visibility into project status?  Stopping tasks from falling through the cracks?  Centralizing information?

2.  There must be business processes that the tool supports.  The tool is only as good as the processes it is designed to support and automate.

3.  The purpose and processes must be associated with a team / group / department / organization.  In other words, are you trying to accomplish this purpose for your team?  Your group?  Your department?  Your entire organization?  Who is involved in the process?  Just your team?  Your department?

4.  Buy-in is needed throughout that sphere.  For example, if you are trying to understand resource loads for your team, then you need buy-in from the team, especially the leaders / managers of the team.  If you are trying to provide visibility into project status for the whole organization, then you need buy-in from the top of the entire organization.  If you are trying to use the tool to automate a process, then you need buy-in from those that participate in that process.

Do you agree or disagree?


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