When Your Team is Unhappy With Its Tools


In the course of writing about different tools, I often make a point of asking about them on various social networking sites. After all, in reviewing a product  I’m probably not going to have the same experiences with a tool as someone working day-in and day-out with it.

In some cases, the responses I get include comments about how much users absolutely loathe particular tools, but they are forced to work with them due to their employers’ choices.

Have You Talked to Your Team?

There are plenty of teams that are happy with their tools. But it seems there are also many people who feel like they work in spite of their tools, rather than with them. You don’t want your team to fall into that second group, so how can you ensure that your team is happy withe the tools you select?

You’ll need to get feedback from employees at all levels of organizations.. It’s probably impossible to please everyone, but it’s a bad sign if your team members are willing to go on Twitter and explain every last detail of what they don’t like about the tools that they have to use.

Don’t frame this conversation by asking your team what they’re not happy about — find out how they think things could be improved. A fair number of the complaints I hear are, at the most basic level, about how things could be made better. This can be an opportunity: Your team sees a problem, but has also identified a solution that you can take advantage of.

A Conversation That Needs to Be Had

You probably already know if your team isn’t particularly excited about a particular tool. But it’s worth sitting down and actually having the conversation and asking a few simple questions: What could be improved? Are there any simple fixes? Are there any big fixes? Sometimes it’s not the case that a tool needs to be completely replaced; it could be a problem with a particular feature, or how the tool integrates with another product or a particular workflow.

You may not be able to act on the information you receive right away. The negative comments I routinely get about certain tools often come out of giant organizations— not exactly companies known for being able to turn on a dime. But knowing that a plan for better tools is in place will improve matters, and even just being heard can help make a less-than-ideal situation more palatable.

Image courtesy Flickr user Petras Gagilas

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