Change is scary. Whether it is a change in our personal lives, in society, or at work, and yes, even if it is QuickBooks. Changing software can be intimidating to some, if not most, of us, especially when an older software has been in place for some time.
User engagement and long term adoption is a frequent challenge in changing company software. QuickBooks is incredibly user friendly, and is broadly used, making it one of the most supportable packages in the industry. Saying that, new user fear should always be approached with understanding and empathy in a project, and mitigated with collaboration and understanding, as well as leadership.
As the project manager or primary contact in a QuickBooks project, there are some things you can do to help your team feel included, understood, and engaged in the new step of your software journey. From the start, having a proactive approach to project success and a collaborative mindset goes a long way. Using your leadership skills to show your internal team that this is a great move for your company, and why it is a positive change is crucial in any project’s success.
A project has started even before your QuickBooks has been installed. While you have searched for a solution to your current needs, whether it be for timetracking, sales management, accounting, or otherwise, your team should feel involved. This could be as simple as a quick discussion at various points in the journey, or it could be status calls or meetings in a larger organization, complete with decision points on how this change directly benefits the user, and how it benefits the company (the why), timelines (the when), introductions between the software team and staff (the who), and education on the general process (the how). Also, put your new software into context. Users should not walk into new software expecting the buttons in the exact same place, and processes to exactly mirror what they did before. Software suites are all uniquely developed, and user interfaces can be different based on the unique characteristics of each software.
Data entry users in particular are sometimes frustrated if a button is not where they expect it to be, but will be pleasantly surprised when they learn that the new process is still effective and faster than the old. QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as Pro and Premier, has multiple navigation options, all built for the unique preferences of each user. In addition, reviewing user preferences (not just global company preferences) during implementation will give each user a sense of belonging and ownership of their software environment. QuickBooks Online was built from the ground up to follow an intuitive flow, and has easy to learn navigation systems.
You don’t need to be granular in your explanations, but providing everyone with a direct stake in the use and adoption of the software, while showing positivity and excitement about the change, will encourage everyone to be open-minded and focused on the benefits of the coming switch or change. Keep the meeting or discussion to the bullets, and answer questions with openness and transparency. Future users should be aware of what training will be required of them, and informed of what time investment will be required during the implementation and adoption of your new software. No one wants to be told on a busy Monday morning that a new project has been thrust upon their desk and that they have to completely rearrange their schedule with no notice!
Project issues can start to develop at this stage of the process, seeded by exclusion and feeling that colleagues or staff are not being heard. Alternatively, user embracement is encouraged by making others feel like they are a part of the process. On the contrary, you also don’t want to have a large decision making team. This may slow down decisions and cause unnecessary backups while evaluating new software. Elect or determine one or two individuals responsible for the actual project, and they can be the project manager responsible for team communication. (Sidenote: KHBOffice always asks clients to elect one primary POC on project work who will take ownership of the project from the client’s side. This keeps communication smooth and projects progressing.)
Once the day has arrived to start your project all active participants should be fully aware of the impacts on time that this new change will require, and should be excited about the improvements the new software will bring to their duties and tasks. Again, as the project manager, maintaining camaraderie and inclusion should be of high importance, since a toxic team member can break a project in the worst case, and can slow down training and use in the best.
Make sure to have a new user packet. This can be self-developed, or ordered/requested from KHB, but it should be uniquely developed to fit your team, software suite, and company. Putting in some chocolate or a thank you for being a part of this project gift is not a bad idea, either!
All participants should work on the project with the knowledge that this is a best efforts change. If they have trouble, whether it be with learning curve, questions, or anything else, they should feel welcome to discuss with our team or your project manager. If team members don’t feel welcome, these questions can be internalized and eventually cause resentment and frustration. While the implementation plan you or we develop should include goal dates, it should be understood by all that life happens, and these are just that – goals. I don’t like to use the term deadline in a project often, since it causes added stress and can create a “make or break” mentality. Keep the project momentum moving forward with positivity and excitement for the improvements your software is bringing.
After your project is complete, it is time to celebrate! You’ve successfully moved to a new way of doing things that will lighten your load, improve your day, and hopefully help not just your team, but will push a butterfly effect to your clients, vendors and others.
A pat on the back for all team members is a great way to show your appreciation of their hard work and open mindedness. Saying this, questions will still come up, and when they do then maintaining the great positive energy you have shown to date will help them feel appreciated and open to learn. Questions and trainings tend to pop up and be required for up to 90 days post Go Live, and even then a year-end follow up is a good idea to ensure that your team is ready to close their first year in their new software.