7 Strategies for Maximizing Adoption of Construction Project Management Software
You’re a leading home builder or remodeler. You have a very clear idea of where your team can improve, what systems are holding up progress, and where time and money are being wasted. You know your home building operation could be more efficient. There are specific business and operational problems you would like new technology to solve, and you have investigated the project management software options and identified the right solution.
But new technology and new processes require buy-in from more than just you. To get the most out of home building project management software, your team needs to be right there with you. Here are our recommendations for getting your crew to adopt new construction technology.
1. Know your reasons for choosing the system
This starts with understanding the benefits yourself. A great way to make sure you’ve got a grasp on exactly what new construction technology can do for you is to schedule a one-on-one demo where you can ask questions and see the system in practice. This is the quickest and easiest way to get a grasp on the return you’re getting for your investment.
Once you do this, you should understand why the software is the clear winner so you can share the benefits with your team, specifically the primary users of the software. You should be prepared to demonstrate support and technical proficiency with the product. If not you, then you should have a champion like a project manager who will learn the ins and outs of the software and help drive adoption of the new technology with your team.
2. Develop an implementation plan
Your new software will need to be implemented in phases, which may include the following:
- Assessment of all functional tasks relevant to software capabilities
- Educating company stakeholders on technology capabilities and business expectations
- Assembly of an implementation team
- Appointment of an internal champion
- Appointment of internal point person for tech questions
- Data migration
- Employee training
- Pilot program
- Review of first week/month
- Fine-tuning of the software and employee use
- Ongoing technical support
- System performance evaluation at 6-month and 1-year intervals
The delegation of responsibility and accountability in your plan is especially important. Who will be responsible for selling the investment to internal stakeholders, like other power users of the software? Who will drive the implementation and who will aggregate questions and issues to work through with the vendor?
3. Engage employees in training events
A great way to share the benefits and accelerate your team’s path to proficiency is through dynamic launch and training events. Consider bringing in an expert trainer from the vendor to walk through the system and answer all questions, as well as provide hands-on training. Skilled trainers can assess the learning styles of your team members and adapt their presentations as necessary. They may want a multimedia presentation or a Q&A session. The trainer can tailor the experience to ensure your team gets the most out of it.
Allow your champion to hit the ground running by assisting the trainer. Incentivize quick learning by providing rewards to team members that demonstrate mastery of key concepts and tasks. Let the training be a reflection of your workplace culture, whether it’s formal or casual.
4. Ensure your team understands the benefits
Your employees arealready doing most of what the software offers each of them: managing budgets, adjusting schedules, making change orders, and more. The difference is that now, everything is centralized to save them time and frustration. The software is also eliminating the needs for redundant communications, updates, and tasks, cutting out much of the chaos of construction projects.
Now they can communicate more easily with one another because everything is centralized and much of the work is automated. They don’t have to do the same work twice because there are templates in place to save time. They can manage a change order with a click rather than a phone call. The list of benefits can go on and on and will look different for every team.
To get complete buy-in, have your team leaders and champion continue to extoll the benefits of the system to each of the users on a personal level. Relate the specific benefits to the individuals using the system. Meet with the group and present the improvements you are seeing in the business as the team ramps up its use of the new software. Use key performance metrics to demonstrate the benefits.
5. Expect a learning curve
No matter what system you have in place now (different software, an old ratty notebook, or no system at all), a new system will always require some level of patience. Even if your current system is slow and clunky, it’s familiar and is therefore the path of least resistance in the immediate future. Let your team know that you expect a learning curve and they should, too, but that the grass is much greener on the other side once they master the new tool.
6. Provide access to support
“Hmm, how do I _____?” That’s part of the learning curve. While your new construction application will come with instructions and helpful how-to resources, sometimes your employees just need to ask an expert. Make sure they know where to bring those questions. Let them know whether you want them to come to you or to bring them straight to product support. If it’s vendor support, give them the phone number, email address, and website they can utilize if they hit a snag, along with any other online or offline resources.
7. Ask for specific feedback
Think of the leaders on your team as your stakeholders. Keep them engaged in the process and insist on getting their input throughout to address any issues early. The continual buy-in of your champion, trainer, and point person, as well as other team leaders will go a long way in increasing employee buy-in. It’s also a valuable leadership development opportunity for your team.
Formally survey your employees periodically to track the progress of the technology solution. In the beginning, find out what parts of the new technology excite each employee most. Learn what job functions are most enhanced and where the time and cost savings appear to be originating (by position and function). Find out the aspects of your employees’ work they now enjoy more and how the application has improved their performance. Learn about concerns and issues they may have. Hold a meeting and let your team process these developments and questions so they feel they are part of the decision-making process.
These steps will increase the likelihood of buy-in from your crew and will ensure the return on investment you expect from your new construction project management software system. Want to learn more about the psychology of change and best practices for increasing adoption of new technology? Download our free ebook, How to Sell Your Crew on a New Construction Management App.