Lesson #1 – Learned on Implementing Viewpoint’s Project Management Module

Viewpoint Construction SoftwareI have been contacted by several General Contractors from the US & Canada about our implementation of Viewpoint.  Viewpoint Construction Software is a very robust system where the majority of a construction company’s workflow is broken out into complete modules.  Most companies, like ours, start by using the Accounting side of Viewpoint & then have the daunting task of implementing the Project Management module. We learned many valuable lessons during the process that we now use for execution of other new software or technology.

Five years ago, our company set out to implement the Project Management module, after six months of using the Accounting modules.  We had a Viewpoint Trainer come on-site to hold a one week training session for our Project Management staff.  We thought it was a great time for our company to transition, since we were about to start building the Nova Southeastern University Lower School Campus.  The logic was that our staff would get a fresh start with the software on a good size project.  What we did not foresee is that Viewpoint is a large software & our company had a detailed workflow; so we needed to not only be trained on the software we needed to fit it into our workflow.  The training was meant to be one size fits all but it couldn’t be for us.

I attended the training and I was immediately overwhelmed.  I asked tons of questions & probably got under the Trainer’s skin as she tried to help all my counterparts, not just me. Our Vice President of Construction, also sat through this training (which was important).  He started noticing my questions; I had so many of them.  By the end of day two, I was convinced that I wanted to get involved with this software.  I was not on the Nova Southeastern team, in fact I was slated to begin a much smaller project, an Ambulatory Surgical Center for Broward Health.  I volunteered my team to be the guinea pig for the software.  No one else seemed ready to tackle it on, so it was easy to get our VP of Construction to give me the green light.

The Viewpoint Trainer was very gracious with me & stayed after the group training to talk to me.  She provided me with enough information to start my odyssey.  But the first lesson learned for us, was that we should have only trained a small group & set our sights to begin on a smaller scale project.  Viewpoint, at the time offered 2 basic types of training – you go to them or they come to you.  I think we made the right decision about having the Trainer come to us, but we were too ambitious in thinking we could all be trained in one week on a software we knew nothing about.  A better idea would have been to have a small team play around with the software & come to the training after conducting some research.  Then eventually that group or group leader trains the rest of your staff.

I am glad to see that Viewpoint now offers many classes both online & at locations across the country.  These classes would have been very beneficial to us & I believe new users should take advantage of these learning opportunities.  The more research you can conduct before the implementation the better.  Also keep in mind that you do not have to pull the plug on your existing software to start the implementation.  We started it one new project at a time which minimized our growing pains.

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