PPM without getting fired? Step 1: Sell the Promised Land


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“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.”

–Mary Kay Ash founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

So your company is ready to ditch their ineffective project management software or end the “management by Excel and email” process that has led to project chaos and wasteful administration while projects continue to float rudderless throughout the company?

That is great news!

Let’s recap your efforts. You have:

  • held countless meetings,
  • identified requirements,
  • met with project management software vendors,
  • approved your budget, and
  • setup a timeline.

Now you’re ready to start your project management software implementation so you can effectively:

  • estimate,
  • manage resources,
  • collaborate on projects,
  • establish programs,
  • prioritize, and
  • balance supply vs demand (money, time, and people).

Not so fast…

Before you get started there are some best practices you must consider as carefully as the software you selected if you want to ever realize project and resource management success (and avoid losing face – aka your job).

How can I be so sure?

Every time we work with a prospective client they typically ignore several of the following success factors.  When they ignore our advice and select another SaaS project management software vendor (and implementation approach) I always ask if they mind if I follow up in 6-8 months and see how their project management implementation is going.

Want to know what happens when I follow up?

You guessed it – I get a bounce back auto response email stating “so and so is no longer employed by our company”. Often times I come to find out they threw the “baby out with the bath water” and eliminate the entire PMO as well.

You’ve read this far so I’m guessing you don’t want this to happen to you. I’ll share the top 7 things you must do to keep your job (after staking your reputation on a project management software recommendation).

The good news is we’ve also seen time and again that adhering to these best practices will ensure your success – and maybe put you in line for a promotion.

Step 1) Sell the Promised Land

Many years ago in Ancient Egypt the Hebrew people served as slaves to the Egyptians. Moses was called upon by God to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt.

Good news: After several attempts to persuade his step brother (the pharaoh) Moses was finally able to free the Israelites.

Bad news: Everyone was exiled from their home and had to wander through the dessert for several years (without so much as a GPS or even a map).

While things were definitely bad under Pharaoh, they got much worse before they eventually got better. How was Moses able to keep the people together and convince them to suffer, wander, and endure?

The people endured because Moses was able to convey the vision of the future. He helped them imagine a time when things would be much better and persuaded them to keep moving forward despite the many struggles and detractors who were working against him. He was the master salesman, visionary, and motivator the people needed.

It is easy to see how implementing organizational change and the tools to enable that change (aka project management software) have a similar problem.

In the short term people will:

  • have to start filling in the new system while continuing to use the old,
  • learn a new interface (often with new processes),
  • come under new deadlines for information,
  • deal with detractors that resist transparency or shared control, and
  • work with people that will publicly support the message (and privately ignore the implementation in hopes it goes away).

That is why it requires consistent reminders, communication and salesmanship to make sure everyone understands in the future:

  • the time it takes to maintain project information will be lower,
  • new processes will be enabled allowing for better organization management (like resource management),
  • reporting will be automatic, intuitive, and engaging,
  • management can prioritize and justify investments, and
  • customers can participate and collaborate with team to ensure better results.

So remember our hero Moses and learn from his example that when we need to lead easily discouraged followers to support your project management software implementation: sell the future state vision early and often.

Next up will be our second step to keeping your job while implementing project management software:

Step 2) KISS Fast