A few weeks back I wrote about the importance of finding a balance when selecting and implementing tools to support professional services automation (PSA). This week I want to revisit that topic and share with you some of the requirements that I believe need to be satisfied in order to select a proper PSA tool.
I believe there are two fundamental viewpoints that need to be considered when selecting a PSA tool (or combination of tools): Team Member and Manager. Both stakeholder types will have very different expectations and requirements of a PSA tool. In this article I’ll dive into some of the perceived expectations from the Team Member perspective.
These people are the lifeblood of your organization. They make things happen, they’re the ones doing the work. A PSA tool to them may often be seen as nothing more than an administrative task that they’re forced to do. Others may see it as an opportunity to exploit functionality to help them do their jobs better. After seeing a number of PSA tools in action, the single, biggest requirement that a Team Member would have is the ability to see what tasks they are currently assigned to and get a ‘to-do’ list of work items they are responsible for delivering. Being able to log into your system in the morning and have a checklist of what you need to get done for the day is a great first step in autonomous time management. Knowing the expectations for each task (due date, amount of work) is key for the Team Member to being able to formulate their own internal plan for getting things done. This also takes load off of leadership in that there doesn’t need to be someone standing over their desk telling them what needs to get done. The intangibles of having a team of people who decide how they want to work is a great first step to building a high-performing team.
Another key requirement that I’ve found sole contributor workers tend to gravitate towards is the ease of collaboration. By having a team who works together and contributes ideas towards the same common goal, it builds a stronger team with greater depth of knowledge on technical and process details. If one team member is struggling with a task, or needs input from another based on a predecessor task, making it easy to collaborate (via discussion board, task comments, @mentions etc.) can be a huge productivity and morale booster.
Finally, the ability for a Team Member to see the ‘big picture’ for a project or initiative is incredibly valuable. By having a tool that not only shows what the individual is responsible for but also what everyone else is doing and what the end result will look like, it adds that extra sense of value to what they are doing. They can see how their work is actually contributing to the end goal which is itself a great intrinsic motivator.
I hope some of these points are helpful should you find yourself in a position where you are evaluating a PSA tool for your organization. Remember that it’s not just the management who will be using this tool – there is great value to be had from getting not only buy-in but deep usage of your tools by all team members.
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