Introducing a new online collaboration tool can dramatically enhance your IT team’s efficiency and effectiveness. Like any new tool, however, a collaboration platform must be implemented correctly in order to deliver on its promise.
A successful implementation starts with choosing the right solution. Be sure that the collaborative work management tool you plan to implement will truly meet your IT team’s needs. As Matt Kapko at CIO.com recently pointed out, many IT collaboration tools provide limited functionality and focus on a single channel, such as chat or document sharing. More robust solutions like Clarizen allow teams to incorporate IM, email, meeting notes and other forms of communication to create comprehensive conversations that place proper context around a given project or program.
Once you have the right collaboration tool, the tips below will help you roll it out to your team as effectively as possible.
Communicate in Advance
Communication is the single most important aspect of your implementation. Before you roll out your new tool, let your team members know that a change is coming and help them prepare to start using the software. Online tutorials, video conferences and email notifications can familiarize your team with the solution in advance and show them where they can go for more information.
Keep in mind, however, that more is not always better – a constant stream of emails and meetings will frustrate your employees and may even create hostility toward the new tool.
Engage Your Leadership
The last thing you want to do is to implement a collaboration solution and watch your team avoid or ignore it. Your team members are already very busy, and they may have some initial resistance to adopting a new tool, no matter how easy to use it might be.
One of the best ways to overcome this sort of resistance is to involve senior leadership in the implementation. When employees see their directors or vice presidents using a new tool, they’ll understand the tool’s importance to the organization and will feel motivated to begin using it themselves.
Start with a Pilot Program
If you’re implementing a collaboration tool for a large department, it’s often a good idea to start by introducing the software to a smaller group first. Pilot implementations allows implementation teams to work out any potential questions or challenges with configuration or workflows before the tool is rolled out to the entire department.
If your IT team is relatively small, this step may be impractical – it won’t do much good to roll a tool out to only part of the team if the entire team works together on every project. A pilot program may also be unnecessary if you are replacing an older collaboration tool, and the team is already familiar with the general concept.
Ask for Feedback
Once your entire team is using their new collaboration solution, check in with employees regularly to find out how they are using the tool and whether they have any questions or concerns. If you are using a highly configurable solution like Clarizen, you will have the ability to modify your software in order to best meet your employees’ needs, even after the implementation is complete.
Learn about Clarizen’s online collaboration tools for professional services and IT teams by browsing our suite of project management solutions.