Lesson #4 Launch Overload – Lessons Learned Implementing Viewpoint’s Project Management Module

Viewpoint Launch OverloadUp until this point, I have worked on learning the software, reviewing our process & tackling Crystal Reports, but other than the VP of Construction & my immediate team, I had not consulted with our other staff.  I had already launched the software on my current project (aka “the guinea pig”), and also taken on the Project Accounting for the Ambulatory Surgical Center.  So I understood not only the Project Management module but also how this module interacts with Job Cost, Subcontract Ledger, Accounts Payable, etc.  I felt ready to launch the software company wide & cross-train our staff as each team started a new project.

The teams cried, moaned & denounced the software many times during their learning curve. They had settled into a comfort zone & not many of them wanted to leave this familiar cocoon.  Thankfully, I had executive support for this launch & so it was mandated across the company.  Executive support is really important to the process.  We are fortunate to have an executive team that welcomes innovation & technology.  When you have the top brass embrace the software, your staff takes notice & follows suit.

As each team was trained, the staff gave me a lot of feedback & questions.  The teams encountered some different situations on their projects, than I had on my project.  I was flooded with calls in the first few months of our launch from them.  I became our own internal tech support for Viewpoint.  Some of our staff, just needed a little more training or helpful hints.  Others had amazing ideas or real issues that we needed to deal with.  And there were those individuals that would just call to vent, as they got comfortable with the change.  I took all of their phone calls.  I got a new legal pad & started working on their issues in order of importance.  We were able to overcome 95% of every call with the addition of custom fields, new status IDs, modified reports or changes to our processes.  As overwhelmed as I was at times by the calls, I was impressed with the ability of the software to meet our demands.  Each call also made me a better Viewpoint trainer & user.

Word of advice, when a team member calls you & leaves you stumped with their question or problem, I take a deep breath & proceed with the following steps:

  1. Ask them to explain the issue & the desired result.  Get in there & really understand what they want to do & why.  I think of the issue in terms of its effect on our workflow & other staff.
  2. Still stumped?  Call them back.  Sometimes I  come up with a solution fairly quickly, other times I need to call Viewpoint for additional support.  But the time away from the user lets you think it over clearly.
  3. Did you conclude that the desired result is impossible? Unnecessary?  Have some tact in your explanation to the user, after all they did take the time to call you for help.  I always advise them to make suggestions to Viewpoint.  After all, Viewpoint's best feedback comes from users like them.

As the staff started seeing their concerns & feedback being addressed, they started appreciating Viewpoint’s capacity.  Our Project Management staff now relies on Viewpoint more than any other piece of software (even the almighty Outlook). In the first few weeks of our launch, I was completely overloaded & was barely able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But you need to keep things in perspective, you are asking staff to make changes, improving your workflow & most importantly amassing a powerful database.  It was well worth it!

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