5 Questions to Ask Before Switching Project Management Systems

When your organization moves from one project management system to another, there are a lot of potential hiccups that can occur. If you can dedicate some time and thought to the process beforehand, though, those problems may be more manageable. Even if you’re proposing a move between two compatible systems, it’s important to keep these questions in mind:

  1. How necessary is this move? If you’ve reached the point that your organization is changing tools, it’s likely that the move is necessary, but it’s worth going over the ground one more time. There are some teams that will switch tools just to stay on the bleeding edge of technology, which can create more chaos in group projects than is absolutely necessary.
  2. Is your team trained for the new tools? Training as you go may seem like a practical option before you actually make the switch, but it will mean slowing down on all your projects as your team goes through the learning curve. Depending on the system, it is possible that something important could get lost in the shuffle. Setting up at least a minimal training schedule can make an important difference in how fast your team gets up to speed.
  3. Is it possible to phase in the new system? While moving everyone over to a new system at once avoids some problems, like having to maintain legacy systems. However, it does mean that projects that may be progressing nicely will have to stop, switch systems and then try to build up some momentum again.
  4. How will your data be transitioned? Your current data needs to be moved from one system to the other. If there isn’t a technical solution, that could mean retyping everything about a project in the new system. That can be another argument in favor of phasing out an old system, rather than making an immediate leap.
  5. How will access be set up? With the advent of web-based applications, concerns over whether a user’s computer will run a given piece of software have become less important. But the question of rolling out access should still be considered. After all, someone may need to sit down and set up accounts for an entire organization in one go. Having a plan in place for setting up access is easy to overlook.

Photo by Flickr user Karl Sinfield, licensed under CC 2.0

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