Preparing for Platinum: Tactics for Transitioning your Team to Workamajig Platinum

Overview

Now is the time to begin planning your full transition into Workamajig Platinum. At this stage, all modules in Workamajig Classic have most or all features moved into Platinum, with the remaining features set to be released this late Summer to early Fall.

We’ll begin with a discussion about re-installing your Workamajig Core Team — wait, you mean you haven’t stayed together since implementation (shame!)? Then, we will discuss your strategic approach to implementation (phased vs. full implementation). Next, we get into the nitty gritty of defining your user groups, listing the features you currently use in Workamajig and then assigning these features to relevant user groups. We will discuss integrating Workamajig support and we will plan how you can customize the system to optimize its use. Finally, we’ll discuss an approach to training and documentation that will work for you! We will offer a few closing thoughts that will carry you well past the switch to Platinum.

Assemble Your Core Team

It’s time to reassemble or re-establish that Core Implementation Team (if you haven’t already). Your core team should consist of 3-5 individuals. You will need an Administrator – this is the person who will own Workamajig and preside over the Core Team. The Administrator needs a backup — remember the rule of redundancy: two is one; one is none. These two individuals will have access to all parts of the system, including sensitive, financial data. This typically means these members will be accountants, but that is not a requirement by any means. The remaining team members should be representatives of other departments.  You must have a traffic and/or project manager representative.  Don’t overlook having a team member from your Creative Department. It’s a myth that creatives aren’t good with software.  If they can navigate Adobe Creative Suite, they can understand Workamajig.

The members you select should be good at working with others. We need a team with positive attitudes who are outcome oriented. It is beneficial if they have successful implementation experience or are generally good with software and technology. It’s always good to have someone who takes good notes, organizes meetings, and is skilled at orchestrating order into chaos. This elite unit will devise an overall strategic plan and the specific tactics necessary to accomplish each milestone towards a successful software transition.

Creating a List of User Groups

Not everyone in your company will use Workamajig the same way. We need to group certain classes of users together so that we can plan their use and training in Platinum accordingly. Focus more on how they use the system rather than what the users do on a daily basis. For example, there may be no need to develop user case examples for both “designers” and “developers” simply because they perform completely different functions for your company. If their primary use for the system is going to be the same (for example, time entry and deliverable review), then I suggest keeping these users in the same group.   Preferably, these groups will align with the default apps in Platinum: creative, project manager, resource manager, and the more financially-based Apps that are typically covered by one person and/or role (i.e. Accounting). Ultimately, more groups mean more work in documentation, management, system setup, and training. Simplify. Streamline. Be flexible enough that minor differences or exceptions among your staff do not require the creation of additional user groups.

Assigning Training Milestones to User Groups

Once you have a good understanding of your user groups begin thinking about what things each group actually does in Workamajig. These items will become your training milestones. Now is not the best time to change the way they use the system. If you want to audit and improve your use of Workamajig, do that later.

Begin by creating a list of every thing you do in Workamajig. The best way to do this is to use your Workamajig menu as a guide. For example, click menu, and beginning from the top, go through all items to determine a static list of everything that is done in Workamajig. Document these items in a spreadsheet and indicate which features will be used by each group and what each user type will do. Feel free to download a sample sheet I’ve created for you:  Workamajig Training Milestones and User Groups to get started.  Then, you can create separate documents for each user group and copy/paste the list of milestones each will be required to use in Workamajig.

Contact Workamajig Support

Once you’ve outlined your groups and how they will use the system, it’s time to reach out to your Workamajig trainer or support person (support@workamajig.com). Let them know you are preparing to transition to Platinum and ask about training options. They can direct you to free, existing resources that currently reside in your Help guide. You can also inquire about setting up training sessions with them. It’s important to do this early while you are still in the planning stages of this transition. You never know what your support representatives availability is going to be, so call well in advance of when you actually need to have the training. This will allow you to attempt self-training and develop a list of questions based on your experience in Platinum. This will improve the training that you get from Workamajig Support. Prior to any live training, provide Support with your questions and documentation so they can have an idea of which system components you plan to use.

Create Custom Menus by app

Note: This optional step requires a more advanced understanding of Workamajig Platinum and will require an understanding of your System Setup and the new Platinum “System Settings”.

At this stage, you have determined your user groups and how they will use the system. Now let’s make sure the system is configured in a way that makes each groups’ lives a bit easier. If you make the system easy to use, then your team is more likely to use it. And the best software tool in the world is worth nothing if it isn’t used correctly.

First, let’s make sure you have a security group set up for each user group defined in your previous steps. Hopefully, your user groups will already be aligned with your security groups.  Note, I am not advocating a complete overhaul of your security. Flag that as a future enhancement. Today, you are only focused on getting ready for the transition from Workamajig Classic to Workamajig Platinum.

Once we have the groups set up, we can setup customized menus in System Setup (Platinum-only) under the new feature for Custom Menu (System Setup > Account Information > System Options > Custom Menu (see the Help Guide). From here, you simply select the appropriate security group and then use your list of features to determine what their app menus should include. This will make it much easier for your team to access and navigate towards the Workamajig features they need. This may not be as important for higher level users of the system since they will regularly need to be in and out of multiple menus and apps. Once you have configured the custom menus, you can review the screens used by all of the apps. Click the …more option and select SYSTEM SETTINGS. This option will give you the opportunity to review the Company Defaults for each screen and also tailor the options based on security group – win/win.

Implementation Strategy

At this stage, your Platinum plan has been documented and your system has been customized for use. You now need to create a timeline for when each user group will be live in the new Platinum environment. Note that you do not have to switch everyone over at the exact same time – this is what is referred to as a full implementation. We believe that a phased implementation is appropriate for Platinum, considering that you are already in the Workamajig environment and are not actually changing the way you use your system.

So, which user group do you begin with?  Just click on your Platinum main menu and you’ll see:  creatives > salesperson > project manager>etc.  This should loosely resemble your user groups and is the order we would suggest that you deploy each group.  That’s easy enough to remember, right?  Set target dates to go live in each of your groups, making sure to take a two-week break between the go live date for each group. The idea is to take the easy wins and build your user adoption rates upon each successful deployment.

We know creatives will LOVE the new Platinum environment. This will encourage the sales/CRM users and enable you to build on your successes. Then, if you find that you can deploy a particular group in less time, or even combine their individual release, go for it! Conversely, if a particular group’s implementation takes longer than planned, then gather the Core Team and find out why. It’s possible that there are good reasons to expand your deployment schedule.

Training and Documentation

It’s time to get your initial training from Workamajig support.  Remeber, you actually began this stage well in advance (imagine that?) of actually needing your Platinum training from Workamajig. Workamajig should already be aware of your needs and perhaps the sessions have already been scheduled.  You should go into each session having already made your attempts to use each part of the system you are being trained on so that you already have a list of questions and can get answers. Additionally, bring Workamajig documentation to each session. Document any changes to the Workamajig-provided Help Guide and any specific work flow ideas that you have.

Now, you should be ready to begin practicing your training methods on yourselves (the Core Team). Begin by reviewing your list of training milestones for a specific user group, and practice training one another on all of the milestones for that group. Let your core team execute items from the training milestone list in Workamajig Platinum as if they were an individual from a particular user group (e.g. a “Creative”). Document any questions or concerns you have and contact Workamajig Support to resolve them. Review your Workamajig Help Guide and create your own documentation where needed.

Once you have a training plan in place, practice and test it out on a user outside of your Core Team. Make adjustments as needed until you are comfortable training each respective group. Document their questions and concerns and make further adjustments to your plan accordingly. You are creating a continuous feedback loop that will provide your core team with a deeper understanding of your system.  This has the added benefit of improving your user adoption rates because you are incorporating feedback from the people who have to actually use the system! You will repeat these steps for each user group that you have defined.

Once the training plan is fully vetted, take each user group’s list of Workamajig features and copy/paste your customized documentation and training into each document. Set up days and times to train each user group with sufficient time before they are expected to be live in Platinum. Allow sufficient time to practice everything the teams have learned and allow your users to bring back any questions they have to the Core Team.

Considerations Before Platinum Go-Live

Clean up your data.  A day in the life of a creative group is predictably unpredictable. There are only so many things you can control. Out of date information is one of them. Clean up your data before making the switch to any particular app:

  • Make sure everyone’s time sheets are up to date (entered, submitted, and approved).
  • Close out and de-activate projects that are no longer an active concern.
  • Update the billing status of your Project Transactions.
  • Make sure Platinum knows which Tasks are complete and which ones are still being worked on.
  • Make sure Tasks that have been assigned to your staff are reflected as such in your system. We want to eliminate as many potential problems or questions as possible prior to switching platforms.

Create a support channel (company intranet, wiki, or document library) to manage your ongoing needs in this system. No need to re-communicate the same support information repeatedly. Document questions that arise and produce answers that are available to everyone.

  • How do I _____?  This support document should capture all user questions about how to perform a particular company process in Workamajig.
  • Where is my _____?  This support document should capture all user questions regarding any particular piece of data they need to access.

Once a solution is in place, you can update your training documentation, update your list of future enhancements, and/or park the issue and resolution within a more general FAQ-type document.

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