Deploying Project Management Software For Long-Term Success
Read time: 8 minutes
Switching to new agency project management software can seem like a daunting task. Change is never easy, but it often leads to great rewards. If you want to ensure success in launching new software within your creative agency, including a potentially new or updated workflow, keep reading! Different software comes with different means of implementation. On one end there’s very hands-off deployment that may include user support and a few documents. Then there’s a truly consultative approach that may include a dedicated onboarding consultant, webinars, and a help/support site. Function Point’s agency project management software uses the latter approach by offering personalized advice and either online or in-person consulting for your business. It’s important to know the ins and outs of your business, and working with an onboarding consultant will help tailor a workflow within the fp. system to improve your functionality and profitability.
What You Put In You Get Back, And Then Some!
To ensure success in working with your onboarding consultant, it’s important to know that what you get out of these sessions is what you put in. Being engaged in the conversation, doing the suggested pre-work before meeting with your consultant, and coming prepared with questions are all efforts that will help you and your team succeed in the long run. Now, what is pre-work, you ask? It’s usually practice scenarios or step-by-step instructions that you follow to gain an understanding of the module or content you’ll be covering with your onboarding consultant in your next session. This could include setting up part of the system like your rates or services, or it could mean entering a job to learn the navigation of the tool. Getting this hands-on practice is important not only for the kinesthetic learners of the world but also for anyone that will be using the system daily to get that muscle memory down. It will also allow you to get the most out of your session because you’re already prepared with questions around functionality, best practices, and a customized workflow based on your agency needs.
We’ll Teach You How To Fish…
Here at fp., we’re big supporters of teaching people how to fish — that is, we’re here to provide you with the tools to learn the system and to find the solutions to questions that come up long after your deployment has been completed. Working with agencies of all shapes and sizes, we’ve found that, by far, the best way to introduce the content to every user is to implement the ‘train the trainer’ model. This means that 2-3 designated individuals from your agency will be the prime attendees of the onboarding sessions, and will be given the resources to train the rest of the agency. ‘Primes,’ as we call these very important people, should have a clear understanding of all the areas of the business and parts of the workflow. They should be able to make decisions on behalf of the agency and be privy to sensitive information like cost rates. As well, these primes should be comfortable with learning information at a quick pace and be confident in training other team members or staff. By the end of the deployment, they’ll be the ‘fp. gurus’ of your agency, and will be the ones who not only know the ins and outs of the workflow but also where to find answers to questions that others have during the training process. Hint: you’ll most likely find the answers in the fp. library for clients!
…So You’re Set Up For Long-Term Success
Speaking of the training process, you may be wondering what that looks like during and after the consulting sessions. In our experience, rolling out our agency project management software in phases is the most comfortable way to implement a new system. We’ve seen some teams get the majority of team members to start with time tracking in fp. before learning how to enter estimates and jobs, and we’ve seen other teams run two systems in tandem for a month, while jobs are being completed and phased out of one. This ensures you’re not entering the same jobs in two systems, essentially minimizing the amount of administrative work being done. Of course, if cold turkey is your thing, we support you in that method as well and have an abundance of training material, videos, and bi-weekly webinars available for you to gain all the insight you and your team need to prepare for a quick switch over.
The best and easiest thing you can do for yourself and your team is to use the resources available to you. The live bi-weekly webinars I mention above are all recorded and available for reference anytime in the future, to refresh your habits or pick up a new trick.
The Function Point onboarding consultants have also created a learning platform for the primes to view documents, training videos, and cheat sheets as part of the deployment process. Logging into this learning platform is a great way for you to customize the style of your learning. Advanced users, or people that are more interested in self-directed learning, can move forward at their own pace because all the learning resources are available to you at any time.
Real People Helping Real People
You know that kid in school who always tried their hardest to help you out because he/she innately enjoyed helping people? Well, we were those kids. Your dedicated consultant and account manager, as well as the Support and Success teams, are valuable resources that you can utilize at any time. Throughout the implementation of new software, you may come across questions about your business or workflow that you never considered before. You may come across obstacles from switching software that need to be address technically. While there are a multitude of different self-help documents to search through, sometimes it’s easier to send a quick e-mail or pick up the phone and call. The easiest way for you to understand a new software is to ask questions, and our teams are happy to help you through any obstacles that may come up, and in the process you may even learn about a feature you didn’t know existed.
Sometimes the obstacle you face isn’t technical. Maybe you’re receiving push back from a staff member who is resistant to change (aren’t we all a little resistant to change at first?). This is actually more common than you may think. When rolling out new software, or introducing a new workflow, being open and transparent with staff members often helps them get on-board more readily and easily. Holding staff meetings to introduce new software can help relieve some of the anxiety of having to learn something new. It gives people an opportunity to ask questions and learn from others. Keeping in mind that some people may be auditory learners, while others are prefer visual or kinesthetic learning, having a wide variety of learning options available to people can also help familiarize them with a new look and feel of a system faster.
Explaining why this new system is being put in place, and discussing all the advantages it will bring to your agency, as well as to each staff member’s individual day, will also make people more understanding and accepting. Knowing that they are supported by their colleagues as well as by the team here at fp. can make the transition a whole lot smoother.
Your Time To Shine
Making sure deployment is your gateway to long-term success is a top priority for us, as it should be for you. We want this process to save you time, money and frustration. While many products out there may be ‘out-of-the-box’ ready, the consultative approach we use during your deployment ensures that you’re not left to fend for yourself to figure out how to improve your business processes. You’re guided through the various modules, and a workflow is created by your primes together with the onboarding consultants to find the best possible, and easiest way to transition. By putting in the time and effort to find the right primes, do the pre-work, roll out the system incrementally, use the available resources, and address concerns to find solutions, your deployment of fp. will be a smooth and effective one.
[Case study] See how Function Point’s unique in-depth training inspired Parcel Design’s deep engagement with the system.
Function Point Productivity Software is the leading all-in-one project management solution to specially designed for creative agencies looking to streamline their business. It’s always a good time to learn how you can better manage time and resources in your agency, so our experts here at fp. have put together this eBook to present the benefits of using project management software for improving your agency’s workflow and productivity by providing you with real-time job and project information at your finger tips. Check it out below: