As painful as it can be to realize that a certain software tool is no longer working for your team, trying to continue working with something that is no longer a fit can be worse still.
Sometimes the software falls out of sync because your company has changed, other times it is because your team has grown and has run up against the technical limitations of the product, and still other times it may be that the tool has gotten too expensive or changed too much in the wrong direction. Whatever the circumstances, when faced with the daunting task of finding, trying out, and selecting a replacement, you will often also have to deal with a team that is resistant to change or too busy to try out the alternative.
If this sounds like you and your team, here are some steps to take and questions to ask yourselves that will hopefully make things run more smoothly.
1 ) Delegate An Owner
Someone needs to run the trial(s), discussion(s), selection, and eventual migration to the new tool. If you’re reading this, it’s probably you, but talk to your team and make sure you’re all on the same page about that. You’re going to be the one nudging people to pick up invites and send you their feedback, so getting everyone to agree to that ahead of time is important initial buy-in to the team effort of picking something new.
You should also try to figure out who is going to do the “care and feeding” of the tool post-migration. Who will be the admin(s)? Make sure they are part of the selection committee.
2) Put Process Over Products
Now would also be a great time to take a hard look at the processes that will govern the use of this product. How transparent are they and how well do they work? If you are expecting a product to solve process problems, you may be disappointed to find that discover that it can often just add more complexity.
Identify your process, make any necessary tweaks (or massive overhauls) and then assess the tool to see how it maps to how you want things to work. While it’s likely that no tool will fit perfectly, your team will probably be happier knowing that the MUST HAVES are all covered.
For a great example of this, check out how our customers Makespace defined their needs for a project management tool and then used them to pick one.
3) Determine Minimal / Maximum Viable Engagement
Some of your teammates are going to be gung-ho about moving over to the new tool, some people are going to drag their feet. What is the minimum amount of engagement necessary to get what you need from this tool? Make sure this is codified in your processes as necessary. On the other hand, it can also be important to try and determine whether you are going to eventually hit a wall with the product.
There may be a certain point at which the tool is going to present performance issues or require complex business rules to access or it might simply become prohibitively expensive over a certain number of users. While you cannot tell the future, it is wise to factor this in to your assessment.
Whether it’s a communication tool or a hosting service, we wish your team a lot of luck (and unanimous agreement!) in selecting the right one for you!