Implementing new software company-wide has a high chance of failure. The 2020 CHAOS Report from the Standish Group found that 71% of IT Projects were challenged or failed during the implementation stage. In this report, failure was defined as cancelled during its development, ended with an underutilized system, or removed early with relevant financial or organizational losses. Even with the daunting statistics above, you can implement successfully if you are aware of the pitfalls you have to navigate.
How do you succeed in the software implementation stage?
It is important not to have unrealistic expectations.
This is one of the easiest pitfalls for a company to stumble over. No software is going to be the answer to all your company’s problems. It is important that both you, your team, and your software provider know exactly what to expect in this initial process. Expect that it will take a considerable amount of effort and time from every member of your team to correctly implement the software, but know that the level of buy-in will not be the same for each person. Just because the company has purchased a software and instructed its use does not mean your team will immediately agree. This is an opportunity for you to lead by example through immediately changing your work habits to include the software and new process. The software will only be valuable as a tool for the company if the team invests the correct amount of time and effort.
It is also important to understand that the software is not going to align 100% with every need or want your company has. You may hear push-back to implementation because the way the software completes or reports a task is different than “the way we have always done it.” This is where your team’s commitment to implementation is key.
A lack of commitment to implement will guarantee failure.
Change is hard, and old habits are difficult to break. Without commitment from every member of your team, your software implementation will fail. Commitment starts with leadership modeling exactly what is expected, especially during times of stress. When your team is stressed, it is easy to revert back to old habits. The team has to push through those times. Remember that it takes at least 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. If you need help pushing through and implementing, don’t be afraid to ask. Ask your team. Ask your software provider. Commitment is always easier as a team effort.
Commitment can also be affected by forces outside of effort. If your team doesn’t understand why the use of this new software is important for the growth of the business, they are less likely to commit fully. If possible, involve your team in the decision-making process. This will solidify the reasons you chose this software to move the business forward as well as ensuring that your team feels like they picked this option. When they feel involved instead of dictated at, commitment is easier.
Have you defined what success looks like for the software implementation?
If clearly defined metrics for success are not determined prior to implementation, your team may be unclear on what the true goal is. Success will look different for each company, but you need to determine exactly how the software will help your team and how your company will be different using the software. Once you know what success for you is, the next step is determining how you gauge whether your team has succeeded or failed.
Setting metrics for this should depend on your definition of success, but possible key performance indicators you may want to track are time savings, return on investment, project profitability, projects completed on time, or time to value. Metrics should be SMART goals which means that they should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. Communication of these metrics and who is responsible for reporting should be clearly defined in your implementation plan.
By clearly addressing these common pitfalls now, you can ensure that your implementation is less stressful and successful. Be realistic in your expectations because software is an investment of money, effort, and time. Lead by example by committing completely to the implementation process, so your team follows in your footsteps. Set your key performance indicators upfront to know whether your investment is paying off.
When you implement PASKR, we are part of your team, and during the initial set-up and training process, we ensure that you are aware of these pitfalls and take action to prevent them. We are here to provide you a better day using our software even during the more stressful aspects of the implementation process.