Uh-oh. You’re on the cusp of starting a new project spanning multiple teams and you realize everyone is using different tools.
Both work and communication can’t pass seamlessly between these tools. So what do you do? You could copy everything over from one tool to the other, but that kind of busywork can cost you as much as a day a week. You could designate someone on each team to learn the other team’s tool. But what if no one wants to be responsible for this?
Seems like the only solution is to get everyone into a single tool, right? It’ll mean less busywork, and everyone can be on the same page.
Here’s why that’s not a good idea.
The learning curve
Which project management tool do you use right now? How long did it take you to get a handle on it when you first started? How much more time did it take for you to be really comfortable in that tool?
The learning curve isn’t just a way to describe how hard it is to learn a tool. It’s used colloquially as such, but it’s something that can actually be measured. When you have a repeatable task, you can measure things like time to completion or resources used. Then, over time, you can track how these values change. Typically, the time needed to complete a task will decrease over time; that’s the learning curve, as measured mathematically.
When you force everyone into a single tool, someone’s going to be pushed back to the bottom of this curve. That’s because a task that might have once been simple will become more complicated as someone has to re-learn how to do it. Work management tools are all slightly different, and that extra time — and frustration — created when learning new processes will be felt as your project pushes on. How long are you willing to wait for a whole team to get back to their regular productivity levels?
Tools aren’t created equal
The average enterprise used 288 apps in 2019. One reason for this is because even if two apps are designed with the same challenge in mind — like project management — they approach it differently. Some tools have more rigorous reporting functionality, others can be customized to fit a wider array of projects. And these things aren’t opposite ends of a spectrum; they’re just two of dozens of different features a work management tool can have.
Choices are made both when a tool is developed and as it’s being updated. This pushes them in a certain direction and affects who is likely to adopt them. How many marketers do you know that use Jira? How many developers use Zendesk? Would you force a developer to use Zendesk because other teams use it?
If you’re trying to force a tool on someone and you face pushback, you might be tempted to say “but it’s not that different.” If you really think that’s the case, try using their tool for a bit. Take a project or task you’re working on, transfer it to the other tool, and try to do your regular work there.
You’ll get an instant appreciation for the learning curve, and you might realize the two tools aren’t that similar after all.
Tool preference is subjective, and that can be for multiple reasons. Maybe you’re just used to a certain tool, or you put more importance on having a pen than someone else.
It’s an emotional choice
When we enter a debate, we assume the other side comes into it with cold, hard logic. After all, we’re doing the same, right? You’ve weighed the options and chosen the tool for your cross-functional project. You have a list of arguments, you’ve compared the pros and cons, and you know what you’re talking about.
Unfortunately, that’s not how negotiations work. Research shows that, despite assuming we approach them rationally, emotional triggers can color the way we debate more than we think. Now imagine you’re telling a team that they need to migrate away from the tool they’ve been using to one you’ve selected. How emotionally charged do you think that conversation will be?
“But wait,” you might say. “We’re all professionals, and it’s just a tool! It shouldn’t be a big deal.”
Maybe using Asana just makes sense to you. But maybe the developers you’re working with are deeply attached to Jira, and asking them to stop using it makes them feel like you’re trampling on part of their identity. Or maybe you chose Asana because you’re attached to it.
Either way, tool choice is a much more difficult conversation than you might expect.
Try something better
So what do you do? Resign yourself to losing a day a week — or more — copying everything from one tool to the other? Plan for twice as many meetings to make up for the communication challenges?
Just use Unito.
Unito integrates some of the world’s most popular work management tools with each other, so your workflows can cross them seamlessly. That means never having to force anyone to use a tool they don’t know.
What does that mean in practice? Because Unito syncs comments, due dates, attachments, and more, you’re creating a single collaborative environment. Each team can feel comfortable bringing their own tool, knowing that nothing will get lost in translation.
Stop having the tool debate. Give Unito a shot.