Most of the companies we help come from a situation where they use spreadsheets to make their schedule. And because scheduling in spreadsheets is very basic by definition, these companies lack a basis to properly use scheduling systems.
That is why in this blog article we discuss 4 best practices with which you can close the gap between the current and new situation so that you can get started efficiently with your new system.
1. Get your scheduling process in order first
No new system immediately solves the problems in your organization. The same goes for scheduling systems, these are just tools that can help you schedule more efficiently. But in order to do that, it is important to first get your internal scheduling process in order. And that starts with agreements on topics such as:
- How do we schedule?
- What do we do where, in which system?
- How detailed do we make our schedules?
- When must hours be finalized?
- Do we send confirmation emails to our customers?
- Who does what?
- Who is ultimately responsible?
- Who creates new users?
- Who takes out users who are no longer employed?
2. Determine in advance what the new scheduling system should deliver
Before you start using a new scheduling system, it is important to have a dot on the horizon within the organization. What should the new scheduling system do for you? Is that a better utilization on projects? Save time? Or insight into whether you can still take on new projects?
For example, with a good scheduling system you can see in real time whether you still have people available. And if so, how many there are and whether they have the right skills/positions for the new projects.
If you disagree with each other about what you want to achieve, it can never be determined whether the new scheduling system is a success or not.
3. Follow a step-by-step methodology for implementation
Do not try to implement all features of the new system immediately, but do this step by step. This approach is also known as the salami tactic. You also don’t serve your guests by letting them eat the whole salami at once, but you cut it slice by slice.
So limit yourself in the beginning to entering a number of features and then expand it with additional components. This way you give your employees the chance to get used to a new system and they don’t feel thrown in at the deep end. And because you give them room to master the new system, adoption will be higher and there will be less chance of errors.
4. Appoint key users / ambassadors of the system
Many companies try to implement their new systems top-down. This often works poorly, because the adoption will have to take place at executive level. It is important to create support precisely at that level.
So make sure that you have a few ambassadors internally who are familiar with AZ’s new system. To do this, choose the people who are looking forward to the new system and put your energy there first. They can then further propagate the new system to the rest of the organization by showing its full potential in practice and answering first-line questions.