Bring your project team onboard: Four steps to easing in a new contract admin solution

As you evolve any business, finding brilliant new tech solutions to help manage workflow is going to be a big part of how you grow. However, no matter how much you know it is going to revolutionize how your team works, it is absolutely normal that you are going to face resistance when it comes to buy-in from your team. And, if you’re looking to onboard external project stakeholders to that particular tech, you may face further resistance there too. In this blog, I’ll outline ways to smooth the buy-in process in order to help transitions to new solutions, and ensure better outcomes.

Recognize the opposition

There are plenty of reasons why people resist new tech solutions. Not everyone feels that confident with computers, and no doubt there will be some people in the office who are perfectly fine doing things the old way. Often fear of change is based on anxiety about being able to keep up with changes, and it doesn’t take much to reduce that level of fear. A simple acknowledgement that this will require effort in the short term, and that you’re going to ensure that everyone has the support they need to learn it at their own pace, will do the job.

Show the value

Learning a new project management or contract administration system (or any other tech platform, really) initially means more work for everyone, so you need to be sure that your team knows how this will save them time and make their lives easier once they are using it. Identify their pain points, and show them how this solution will help them to better deal with those issues.

Pitch the new online software platform to your team based on their needs. Is it going to make communications smoother? Minimize mistakes? Speed up administration processes? Make contract admin a breeze? Highlight exactly how this is going to make their lives easier. To give you an example, when we asked Julie Varrie, building technologist at MQN Architecture and Design in Vernon, BC, how using RForm had helped her, we discovered that it had slashed the time it took to do payment certifications from three hours to half an hour. Show your team the ROI, because they’re investing time into this, and need to know it will be worthwhile.

Dedicate time to training

Many online software transitions fail spectacularly when new tech is dumped on teams and they are expected just to get on with using it. Make your introduction to the software a smooth one by having a brown bag lunch meeting (beer and peers, or similar non-threatening meeting) where you can walk through the product features. Tell your team that you’ll give adequate time for training, and that they can come back with questions at any time. Celebrate that you’re taking a step forward together – as a team – instead of thrusting something new on them.

Giving your team a timeline of how the solution will be implemented – over a space of a month or six weeks for example – can be useful. It makes everything look a lot less threatening if they know that they have time to do this transition to the new way.

Take advantage of whatever training materials are available. When a project team is set up in RForm, for example, each team member invite includes a quick start video outlining the basics in just five minutes. This gets people up to speed quickly, and shows that the process probably isn’t going to be as complicated as they might think. (Likewise, there are helper videos throughout RForm, so nobody is expected to know or remember everything that our contract administration software does.)

Onboarding external stakeholders

Bringing outside project managers, contractors, and other external persons onboard brings more complications. Many of us are suffering project management solution fatigue, especially when we work with multiple organizations who each use different systems, but in the long run having everyone on the same page will benefit all involved. Hopefully by the time you get to onboarding external stakeholders, your team will already be working happily on that platform, and will help evangelize the benefits to the stakeholders that they work with.

Again, ultimately it is all about ROI. Explain how using the platform will benefit them, speed up processes, increase efficiency of the project, and positively impact their bottom line. Just as you did with your team, give external stakeholders the training they need to succeed using the platform, and encourage questions.

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