Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a new project management tool. You made it through the evaluation process, the trials, the executive sign-off.
But your greatest challenge still lies ahead: convincing your team to actually use (and perhaps even enjoy) this new tool.
This challenge is not to be taken lightly. Do it poorly, and you risk failure. You don’t want that. Your boss doesn’t want that. The business definitely doesn’t want that.
So you have to do it right–the first time. Just one slight problem…
Change is hard.
“We’re too busy to learn a new tool.”
“Our current process is working fine. Why change?”
“I don’t use our current tool. A new one won’t help me.”
Convincing your team to adopt (and love) LiquidPlanner will take some work. But it’s definitely possible, and we’re going to help you do it.
Sell Benefits, Not Features
“Features tell, but benefits sell.”
This common refrain, uttered in marketing departments the world over, serves as a reminder to ask, “What’s in it for our customer?” In this case, your customer is, you guessed it, your team.
If you start by rattling off a whole lot of features, you’ll quickly lose their attention. Persuading your team requires a mix of features and benefits. To get to those benefits, you want to use the “So what?” trick.
Here’s how it works: Pretend you’re selling an in-window air conditioner to your team. (Just stick with me here.)
The particular air conditioner comes with a mounting kit.
It can be safely and easily secured in most windows.
You can use the unit in any room in your home.
The in-window air conditioner can be safely and securely installed in any room of your home. You can enjoy the cooling satisfaction of air conditioning without the high costs of installing and maintaining a forced air system. It’s an effective, efficient, and inexpensive solution for hot days.
By using the “So what?” method, you’ve shown how this solution can meet their needs. This method works for any product, including project management software. Use it to start brainstorming about ways to position LiquidPlanner as a solution to your team’s needs.
To get you started, we’ve compiled talking points around three team-focused benefits: consolidation, collaboration, and autonomy.
Benefit #1: Consolidation
On the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, the New York Times published a video about “all the things this ubiquitous gadget has laid to waste.” The list runs the gamut, from taxis to cameras to small talk in elevators.
What would have once filled a box (address books, photo albums, day planner, alarm clock, watch…you get the point) now fits in the palm of our hand. It’s an amazing feat for something that originated as a way to make telephone calls.
Were you anticipating this metaphor? Here it is: LiquidPlanner is like the iPhone.
Yes, I know. Project management software will never be as far-reaching or monumental as the iPhone. For the people who use the tool on a daily basis, however, it can sometimes feel like it–for better or for worse.
Like the iPhone, LiquidPlanner combines several tools into one:
- Email (You can’t rid yourself of it completely, but the number of emails sent and received can be reduced.)
- Slack, Yammer, and other IM communication platforms
- Time tracking software
- To-do lists
If your team spends a lot of time jumping between different applications, this could be a major selling point. Consolidation also reduces time spent copying and pasting the same information across different applications. All conversations, document links, and plans are in one place.
Benefit #2: Faster Communication
Communication is almost always listed in those “5 Top Skills for PMs” listicles. If that’s the case, then why do so many project management tools make it so hard to communicate with the team?
LiquidPlanner knows that teams are often swimming in emails, attachments, and random Slack messages. That’s removing these roadblocks and making communication much easier is a major component of our tool.
Why teams love collaborating in LiquidPlanner:
- Built-in collaboration features: The Notes field within LiquidPlanner moves conversations out of email and creates a “paper trail” that’s linked to the specific project task.
- Slack integration: Enabling LiquidPlanner notifications in your existing IM platform means easy access to all your task details and deadlines in a platform that you’re already working in every day.
- Open, transparent environment:With a shared workspace, everyone can see all the tasks that make up the project and the schedule for project completion. This transparency makes it clear what needs to be done, who’s responsible for doing what, and when tasks need to be completed.
- Single, centralized workspace:A project workspace hosted online gives the whole team access to the information they need and a means to collaborate, via any Internet-enabled device. For geographically distributed teams, nobody loses out due to location or time difference. Information is available to the whole team 24/7, and team members don’t have to ask the project manager or wait to be spoon fed information.
- Documents housed in one location: Team members shouldn’t have to visit several different repositories to find links to documentation or other information they need to get the job done. This eats time and introduces version control issues (e.g., many different versions of the same document being emailed around).
Benefit #3: Increased Autonomy
Employing practices that make employees feel like robots on assembly lines–micromanaging, for example–is a really effective way to reduce employee engagement. This leads to increased stress, higher turnover, and less effective employees.
But give them room to make their own decisions, think for themselves, and take ownership, and motivation will steadily begin to rise.
In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Really Motivates Us, Daniel Pink cites a study conducted at Cornell University that looked at the effects of autonomy at 320 small businesses in the United States. Half of the companies granted workers more autonomy, the other relied on top-down direction.
Those businesses that gave employees autonomy:
- Grew four times faster than the businesses using command and control management
- Experienced one-third of the turnover
Obviously, there’s a fine line between giving employees autonomy over their work and letting the inmates run the prison. And, that’s where a project management tool like LiquidPlanner comes in.
One of the major differences between LiquidPlanner and a tool like Microsoft Project is increased visibility. With traditional PM tools, it’s difficult to fully collaborate. Sometimes only one person has access to the actual tool and, thus, the actual plan. Cloud-based tools allow all team members to access and work within the tool autonomously. No more waiting for updates. No more wondering what to work on next.
Now everyone will have access to the same information at the same time. It’s easier to stay on top of what’s going on and know what needs to be done next.
Greater autonomy = greater employee engagement.
Tying It All Together
You now have three solid talking points you can use to describe the benefits of LiquidPlanner to your team. But don’t stop there. Seize the excitement and momentum of this conversation by introducing your plan for implementation.
These resources will help you build a successful rollout plan: