The implementation of a new agile tool within a company is a major project that needs to be thoughtfully organized, especially when several teams have to be aligned around the same tool. We can feel a strong resistance to change when it comes to the introduction of a new agile tool, even in the most innovative companies. For the ones in charge of the organization’s agile transformation, we have listed 5 tips to help successfully meet this challenge.
Before getting started: some advantages of an agile tool…
The introduction of new processes, project management tools and methods implies being able to manage change, as it is a very ambitious project; this is especially the case when change directly concerns an IT system such as a brand new software. The integration of an agile project management tool alters the way people work on a daily basis, not only from a technical point of view but also from a social one.
In fact, the introduction of an agile tool comes with a set of new approaches and values to be applied. As agility puts people at the very heart of processes, thanks to an agile tool, which is natively collaborative, team members – as everyone else in the company – are encouraged to communicate and collaborate more when working on a project. Actually, they are invited to share and capitalize on all the information: thanks to the right tool, the advantage is that it all happens in one single workspace, on the same platform.
Organizations that go for an agile transformation have grasped all the benefits and also the challenges related to data and information sharing: for example, minimizing the risks of losing data (often lost among tons of e-mails or in some employees’ pc), increasing the visibility on every aspect of the project, smoothing project management and, above all, reaching full traceability.
However, becoming an agile enterprise even before considering its practical aspects, implies accompanying change: this is why we are sharing 5 tips for transformation leaders, to help you anticipate and/or overcome any reluctance that may show up when implementing an agile tool within your organization.
Being a change leader and encouraging one or more teams to adopt and use a new agile project management tool is definitely easier said than done.
It is fundamental to consider all its aspects – the technical, human and social ones – to smooth the adoption of the agile tool as much as possible. Undoubtedly, the involvement of all employees is key to success: if you let them being active stakeholders within the change management, you show them that they play an important role in this transformation. In other words, they won’t undergo the change process, they will directly contribute to make it successful!
1. Turn managers into enthusiastic ambassadors
The first step towards the implementation of an agile tool is to involve the management teams: if senior and middle managers are satisfied with and convinced of the efficiency of the new agile tool, they will easier get teams use it, convincing even the most reluctant. By becoming ambassadors of change, they will have more chances to succeed in spreading their enthusiasm and satisfaction experience within the organization.
our experts advice
Don’t fall into the trap! You don’t necessarily have to target IT departments to pick your ambassadors: it is way more effective and convincing when recommendations and encouragement come from non-technical profiles, so that the agile tool implementation won’t be considered that challenging. Why? Simply because these ambassadors won’t use complex, technical jargon which generally reduces potential resistance to change within the organization.
True fact: it is not always that easy to get the management team involved because, before becoming agile, the organization often operates in a more traditional way and there is very little collaboration among its business departments. In fact, each department uses and relies on its own processes, methods and work habits… and what is more, its own tools!
Your best ally as a change leader is the management participation, and this, since the very beginning of the process, aka the tool selection process: this way, it will be easier for your to highlight that the tool matches everyone’s needs and also the importance of adopting a solution to bring teams together, improve cross-functional collaboration while ensuring to meet business requirements.
Once the choice is made, it is important not only to inform all the members of the organization about the upcoming implementation of a new agile tool, but also to provide them with guidance as to successfully accompany change at all levels. At this point your ambassadors will be of precious help both to facilitate the deployment of the agile tool and to get started with your agile transformation smoothly.
2. Put emphasis on the advantages that teams get from it
Lowering costs is certainly good news to convince the top management about the implementation of a new agile tool, but actually it does not involve teams. For this, it is important to find the right points and reasons when communicating with users. But watch out, it doesn’t mean to exaggerate the truth: it is extremely important to be transparent with teams. For instance, clearly explain why the implementation of an agile tool is needed, the main advantages of this solution from the users point of view, the expected enhancements on a daily as well as its implementation deadlines.
our experts advice
Let’s be concrete! Show teams measurable outcomes: how can this agile tool improve work challenges on a daily basis? To do so, bear in mind the « work smarter, not harder » approach when providing them with some examples.
3. Share tutorials
Once you have moved on to the training stage, it is essential to focus on providing visual demonstrations about the agile tool’s user-friendliness and its intrinsic benefits.
Simplifying the adoption of the agile tool definitely helps ensure a better implementation across teams, regardless of both team members’ and final users’ technical skills.
At the same time, providing guidelines is highly recommended to avoid any lack of harmonization in the way the agile tool is used and also to facilitate problem-solving, if needed.
Our experts advice
Use and disseminate the tutorials released by your agile tool provider and create accessible Q&A to encourage the tool adoption as much as possible. By doing so, it will be easier to convince even the most reluctant ones!
4. Break down the implementation phases into smaller steps
The adoption of a new agile tool can be disheartening for some employees at first, even though they have been trained for it. How to deal with this situation? Assign smaller tasks to teams – particularly to the most reluctant ones – as to progressively learn the way the software works: for instance, creating a personal profile, uploading a file to share or adding a task and assigning it.
As to encourage a broader participation, you could also « gamify » this implementation process by defining and providing some kind of reward to celebrate each team’s progress. Another efficient solution could be better organize the tool introduction as well as its features implementation in several steps: introducing fewer features at a time, instead of deploying all at once.
This will allow all employees to get used to the new functioning of the tool easier, making sure that they all have acquired the same knowledge and skills before stepping to the next level of training.
our experts advice
Make sure that all these small assigned tasks highlight both the must-have features, the quality and the benefits of the agile tool.
5. Be a good listener
Last but not least, listen to your teams and get to know their feelings and experiences with the new agile tool.
It is fundamental that team members feel involved as much as possible, especially in case issues arise. Fostering their participation, sharing opinions and suggestions through regular surveys within the organization will both allow better track use cases and intervene to implement adjustments based on feedback.
Our experts advice
Ask your teams to evaluate the implementation and transformation phase. For example, you can ask them, on a scale of 1 to 5, to what extent they agree/disagree with the following statements: "I understand the changes of the new agile project management strategy"; "with this new workflow, I know what I’m supposed to do"; "I have been trained enough to manage using the new agile tool"; "I know where to find the information I may need via the new agile tool"… and so on.
In the end…
If you are in charge of an organization’s change project for the introduction of a new agile project management tool, these tips may be useful to you as to best meet your challenge.
There is no doubt that the stakes are high when undertaking this project within a team, and more broadly within a company: when starting agile, make sure to be a force of proposal, to encourage employees as well as to identify potential obstacles and deal with any resistance throughout the whole implementation process, this way ensuring a smooth transformation and the project’s success.
To do so, it is also necessary to provide teams with a framework, to share guidelines and best practices that will ensure effective support for the agile tool adoption, so that everyone feels part of the process.