How “Not” to Implement Software (w/ 4 Tips From a Pro)

The results will come fast, but evolving your business takes time and effort.

Headshot of Danny Mitchell, Archdesk's Head of Content Marketing

Danny Mitchell
Head of Content Marketing

From estimating to journalism to helping construction pros make the most of tech.

You did it. Finally, you bought the software you know will change your business forever. The results should roll in any day now.

But there’s more to it than that. That investment is just the start of your journey and it’s vital to set off with the right expectations.

Results will come fast and consistently if you avoid the mistakes others have made before you.

That’s why I spoke with Lindsey Stark, who has spent over 20 years helping construction companies get started with software. She is the Senior Technical Implementation Consultant at Archdesk.

Here are Lindsey’s four ways “not” to implement software.

1) Going full tilt instead of a phased implementation

“People get carried away and lose track of the key objectives they want to achieve."

Lindsey talks about the importance of setting and sticking to key objectives

It’s easy to fall into the “give me everything at once” trap. You bought the software because you’ve seen and want the results. But it takes time. Going full tilt from the start is a fast route to failure.

The right approach is a phased implementation.

“The best attitude is to look at your biggest problems, the burning reasons you bought the software, and focus on solving that.

“Then you can start introducing other ‘nice to have’ features into the process,” says Lindsey.

By doing this, your users get familiar with the software and see the benefits faster because it’s solving their problems. This speed to value will drive adoption rates and increase the likelihood of a successful implementation.

“Start simple and expand from there.”

2) Forgetting the people who will actually use the software

“Even the best implementation plans will fail when the users are an afterthought. I’ve seen it time and time again.”

Lindsey explains how adopting software is a fundamental change to your business

The user always wins. It doesn’t matter if leadership loves the software; the project will collapse when users revert to the old way of doing things. In construction, that means spreadsheets and paper. 

When this happens, leaders usually hold their hands and say, ‘my team just won’t use the software,’ and throw in the towel. 

But this failure isn’t the user's fault and is easily avoided by making the process easy - not complex.

“I give lots of guidance around user adoption when working with clients,” says Lindsey. 

She asks them:

  • Have you informed and prepared them for the system?
  • Have you shown them how it works?
  • Do they understand the benefits?
  • Do you have the training, like workshops, in place?

“When the answer to these questions is yes, it’s reflected in the project's success.”

3) Give the project the time and resources it deserves

“People have an “I want it now” attitude, but they’re busy. It’s won't get up and running fast unless you dedicate the time.”

Lindsey talks about giving the implementation project the resources it deserves

The leaders buying Archdesk are putting out fires and struggling to see the woods from the trees, so they want results from the software yesterday.

But it’s not installed, configured and working overnight. The software is a fundamental change to the business and will be a core part of its makeup going forward.

“It’s not just from a business perspective. The employees need training, adoption needs focus, and you want to ensure the system works how you want,” says Lindsey.

“The more time you invest, the quicker you’ll be up and running and getting the desired results.”

Most leadership teams are up against it for time, which is what an implementation project demands. That’s why you should look to your employees to succeed.

“I always ask about the biggest users. Can we get them involved in the project? Because they know the process and probably put it in place.

“Get them involved from the start as they’re the true champions. They’ll be doing the work for the main sponsors and if it’s not going well, they’ll push back and refuse to use it.

“They have to use the software every day. They are the ones that make it work.”

4) Follow your actual processes

“I see companies try to follow their documented processes but quickly realise they’re outdated or nothing like what people follow.”

Lindsey talks about understanding the processes you have in place, not those written down

You can build an ironclad plan but success is only possible with the right information. That happens when the documented process differs from reality.

This matters when implementing Archdesk or any other software that converts your manual workflows into digital.

“I’ve done many implementations where clients say, ‘we have to get sign off at this point,’ but really, they’ve never done that," says Lindsey. "It goes to the weekly meeting with the MD who signs off verbally."

“You need to be clear about your actual process and see how that marries with what’s documented. It’s crucial to successful implementation.”

There is also an opportunity to refine and mandate workflows during this process. Once you finish the implementation, you will have confidence in your operating efficiency.

Start your journey with the right expectations

Change management. That’s the key lesson from Lindsey. By investing in software like Archdesk, you are changing (and evolving) the core of your business. That doesn’t happen overnight and takes time and effort. 

If you keep the process simple, focus on user adoption and tackle the original pains first, you’ll succeed. 

Are you investing in software and want to ensure you get results? Our experts, like Lindsey, would be delighted to help you. Why not start by checking out Archdesk?

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2024-06-18 06:45:42