My colleagues have been telling me for years “Write a blog”, or at least “Give me a break and write a blog entry”. My response, “Blah Blog”. I think they figured since I had so much to say, and passionately so, that I should vent via electronic means. The educational/professional side of me wanted to go look up ‘How to Blog’ or ‘Blogging for Non-Bloggers’- but instead of going that route – I’m going with my gut. My first blog is about implementations and specifically how to ensure a successful implementation with any software. What do I know about this topic you ask? I’ve been facilitating or overseeing implementations for an online software product for 7 years. Prior to that I worked with a company that developed software for several different industries, from the Recording Industry Association of America to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. In all of these industries and more, from small projects to multi-million dollar initiatives – there are common principles that guarantee success. And if you’re missing the first one – you’re success just got reduced by a significant percentage. But maybe you’re the person on the ground floor who is trying to convince your boss that you need a system/tool in place to make you and the company more successful. Then use #1 below as your first goal. But to reach that goal you have to have clear and measureable objectives. More about those in my next blog. Here’s our top 10 tips to ensure success of your next implementation.
1. Executive leadership and commitment. If the decision isn’t coming from the top down, or you don’t have executive buy in – the chance of pulling the plug is greater. If you don’t start with this, make sure you get buy in quickly. Give them what they want – numbers and reports. Proove that the tool is helping them achieve a return on their investment.
2. Set clear implementation adoption goals by module,milestone or phase as appropriate for your particular type of project and assign a reasonable timeline for each to be implemented with your Professional Service Manager (PSM).
3. Do some basic data gathering. Whatever tool or system that you’re going to start using – there’s bound to be data or information to put in it. Here’s an example of a standard list for homebuilders. Typically gathering this information means getting it into electronic format. Excel is your friend – and if it’s not, find a friend that is a friend of Excel.
• Have a list of projects (sub-divisions) that you build in,
• Have a list of lots you will build on in those projects,
• Do you have a list of Plan names or numbers that you build?
• Do you have a list of options you offer?
• Have a list of Trade Partners (Vendors & Subcontractors)
4. Take all the complimentary on line classes as soon as you can. Your familiarity with the system will lead to a quicker implementation, potentially saving you money and will speed up getting the return on investment of using the system. Finding a tool that has free online/on demand classes is a plus/plus. Also look for a tool that has a great help system that is easy to navigate or has a good search tool. Especially if they don’t have a FREE 800 number. BTW, this is one thing I am so proud of BuildTopia for having; an online help system, free on demand classes and an actual person that answers our 800 number. Hey, I get to toot our own horn – this is my blog!
5. Schedule weekly implementation progress meetings with your PSM to review any uploaded data, steps needed to complete current goal, as well as what may be needed (data) for the next goal. Keep things moving forward! This may be a 15 minute meeting, but it keeps everyone accountable to touching base and confessing to what did or didn’t get done. ACCOUNTABILITY! More...