“How do I MAKE them use the system?”

No doubt, at some point in the traffic process, you’ve encountered resistance from employees. Their hesitance to use “the system” could stem from any number of sources — time, perceived value, peer action (or in-action), system intuitiveness, the list goes on.

While you can’t force someone to adhere to agency processes, outside of threatening his/her job security, you can convey the many benefits of doing so. For example, if an employee says,

“I don’t have time to put my notes in the system.”

Emphasize the amount of time she’ll recoup by entering everything in the system, via a Client Contact Report or Creative Brief, for example. Chances are, she’s already recapping the information in some other format, be it Word® or an e-mail. By entering project details in a central location, others can quickly find the information in her absence. Make time to sit down with her and show her where to enter the information and that, once entered, she can move on to other things, having entrusted you to move the project ahead.

“What will I get out of using the system?”

Show him several of the big picture reports your system offers. If an Account Executive, review the Working Tasks List of his Client(s). Having an overall view of what’s in-house will empower him to better manage the account(s). Consider sharing a Time Summary with your Art Director. Seeing the number of hours she’s logged in a week will give her a better idea of how much she’s accomplished.

“He doesn’t use the system, why should I?”

In order for any project management system to be successful, it must have top-down support. While the President, for example, is predominantly a strategic thinker, even he has information that should be entered in the system. Remind him of why he implemented it in the first place -– to improve agency efficiency and, ultimately, profitability. If he’s on board, no one will be able to say, “He doesn’t… why should I?” about any other team member.

“The system is too confusing.”

Perhaps she’s never been formally trained on the key features needed to make her job easier. Take a moment to sit down and hear her thoughts. Offer her shortcuts (e.g. right-clicking to open the link in another window), review only the features she’ll use on a regular basis (e.g. her Task List and Time Sheet), perhaps even design a series of Training Sheets for each of your departments. “Cheat Sheets” are always helpful, and appreciated.

The list goes on… For every “negative” you hear about using your chosen project management system, find a positive. Get to the root of the problem and then offer a solution. It’s your job, as a Traffic Manager or System Administrator, to make them WANT to use the system.

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