Need a New Scheduling Tool?
There are lots of tools for project management scheduling, but what happens if your client wants you to use a particular one? That’s easy if you already have the tool they specify, but if you don’t… You have a choice to make: do you turn down the contract or set up their project on a tool that’s new to your team?
We help organizations migrate to new scheduling tools all the time, either because of the requirements in a contract or because they have simply grown out of their current tool and want to move to something more suited for their level of maturity.
If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t panic! Making the shift is straightforward with the right planning and the right expert support. We’ll share some tips in a moment, but first, let’s look at one of our project management case studies: the experiences of a company who went through the exact same thing, in a smooth, managed and successful way.
Project Management Software Case Study
SwissRides plans, designs and builds projects focusing on amusement park attractions, Ferris wheels and infrastructure that moves people like chair lifts.
The team won a new contract which mandated the use of Oracle Primavera P6. With the in-house scheduling team already at capacity, and the existing schedule in Microsoft Project, SwissRides reached out to Ten Six for some expert support.
Our Microsoft Project Conversion Service was the starting point, including a line by line schedule check to ensure the conversion to P6 was a success. Then we reviewed the schedule to look for potential improvements so the version submitted to the customer was as robust and accurate as could be.
Tips for migrating to a new scheduling tool
If you are facing the same challenge as SwissRides, here are some tips for migrating to a new scheduling tool.
1. Use a consistent team
The Ten Six team supporting SwissRides remained constant throughout. Relying on the same individuals meant those people developed specific project knowledge so they could work in an efficient way.
If you are planning to migrate from one scheduling tool to another, try to secure a team of resources who will be able to support you all the way through, from the initial requirements and set up through to maintenance and knowledge transfer afterwards. There are often risks associated with switching project team resources because however good your knowledge transfer processes, nothing beats lived experience! You’ll also benefit from building ongoing working relationships with the rest of the team.
2. Work out of hours
Scheduling software is in use all day, every day by project teams. It never seems like there is a good time to take the product offline and make the shift.
We managed around that by taking advantage of the time zone differences between the Ten Six team and the SwissRides team. All the schedule updates happened outside of the local PMO standard operating hours which meant the impact on the teams could be managed efficiently.
If you don’t have a time difference, consider doing some of the migration and update efforts out of hours. If that isn’t possible, make sure project managers get enough notice of system outages so they can plan their work around the times when the tool is going to be unavailable.
3. Check the migrated schedules
Schedule conversions are something we do routinely, but even with every precaution taken and all the groundwork done, you still sometimes end up with a software glitch. That’s why we check every line to ensure schedule integrity.
Allocate enough time to quality check your schedule when you move from one tool to another. That will give you and your client confidence that the dates remain accurate.
4. Speed up the migration with experts
Your in-house teams are experts in their own right, but they might not have expertise in system migration and the new tool, especially, as in SwissRides’ case, when that tool is mandated by the client. If you don’t have expertise in-house, consider bringing in people who are confident and experienced in doing the work to help you get started as quickly as possible.
Using skilled resources to support your existing team is a time-saving and sanity-saving way of quickly meeting the client’s needs while bringing your own team up to speed.
5. Be patient
The SwissRides migration was completed in a short timescale due to the project requirements and the needs of their client. However, moving to a new tool is a big organizational change for the project teams using it for scheduling. Make sure you allocate enough time for knowledge transfer, training, and ongoing support.
It is worth securing support from your software implementation experts during the first few months of ‘normal running’ with the new tool, so they can answer questions, quality check the schedule and deal with any updates in conjunction with your in-house team. Your own PMO team will get there eventually as they gain availability to take on the admin and management of the new tool or grow in confidence.
The project management software and scheduling tools used by your PMO will naturally evolve over time as you develop deep levels of project management maturity and need different, more advanced tools to support the needs of your internal and client projects. Making the shift to a new product is a big commitment, but it does not need to be a headache. Let us know how we can help you get your new scheduling tool set up smoothly and quickly; we’d be happy to help!