The purpose of this blog series is to describe the top 12 steps to ensure successful software implementation. The first seven steps, Planning, Process Design, Solution Design, Configuration, Customization, Integration and Reporting were discussed in my previous blog posts.
This post is about Training. Training can take many forms, including:
- Project team training
- Training to prepare for testing
- Train the trainer
- End user training
The key to training is to provide the right level of training to the right users at the right time.
Project Team Training
This should be done very early in the project, before Design. By providing training to the project team in the out-of-the-box capabilities of the software, they will be much better positioned to make design decisions later in the project. This training should be considered generic and is intended only to provide exposure and general understanding. This training can often be obtained directly from the software manufacturer by recorded video as it is the same for all organizations who implement the software. It is not business specific.
Training to prepare for testing
This portion should be done once the solution has been configured, customized and tested by the project team. Training to prepare for testing is provided to team members who need to test the solution and have not been involved in the project up to this point. This training is specific to the business and is process-based. Testers need to be trained in all aspects of the system so they can test it from end to end. It is important for the testers to acknowledge that they are learning the entire system and not just the aspects that are relevant for their normal job. They are testing the solution for the whole business. This training is lengthy and involved. This training is delivered prior to the solution being tested so there are typically bugs and software issues found during the training. The testers need to be flexible and open minded. This training usually does not need to be repeated, and since it is based on an untested system, it would be premature to try and record any sessions.
Train the Trainer
Trainer-training is provided to power users who will be responsible to train other individual users. This training is very focused on particular job functions and the steps required to do certain tasks. Training a set of trainers is usually required when there are a large number of end users. When this training is conducted, the system has been tested and should be functioning in a normal manner. Recording training at this point will create good value when trying to train the users that follow.
End User Training
This is provided to the final end users of the system. This set of users is trained to perform only the tasks and functions they personally will do in the system. This is the most focused of the training, is usually the shortest in duration and is the most likely to need to be delivered in a repeatable format. Depending on the learning style of your users, this training could be delivered live in a classroom session or by recorded video segments. Using recorded segments is very beneficial for this type of training due to the requirement for it to be repeated when there are new users.
In summary, training in not something that you will need to do once at a particular point in time, it is ongoing, all the time. It should start right at the beginning of the project and should continue on after the solution has gone live as new people join the organization. Testing can only be performed by trained users and will be covered in my next blog post.