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Tuesday, 20 January 2015 17:45

Learn When and How to Implement End User Training

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It should normally be clear that training will be provided when the project solution is about to be deployed. However, what typically happens is that the work associated with training is also all pushed toward the end of the project. The result is that you may feel rushed to create the training material, and the training might not seem as effective as you wanted.

The key to effective training, as it is with other aspects of the project life cycle, is to start the planning process early. If you wait to consider your training needs until the end of the project, you will not have enough time to do it the way you would like.

Start with the strategy (maybe)

The first possible deliverable to consider is a Training Strategy. You would want to consider this level of planning if your project is complex and there is a large training component. For instance, if you are involved in a project to implement a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, this type of application obviously has a dramatic impact on the Sales and Marketing users. You may want to create a Training Strategy first to make sure you have an agreement with the customer on the overall direction and approach to take.

All strategy documents on a project are typically done in the Analysis Phase. So, early on, as you are getting your business requirements, you also get requirements for the necessary training. These requirements are used to create an overall strategy, which should then be approved by the customer.

As you probably know from experience, most projects do not have such a complex training situation, and so the Training Strategy document is not needed for most projects.

Create an overall Training Plan

The Training Plan is created during the Design Phase. If you have a Training Strategy, the Training Plan simply contains the additional details required to make the strategy real. If you do not have a Training Strategy, then the Training Plan typically has some initial aspects of strategy, and then quickly gets into the details. The Training Plan would include a description of the audience you are trying to reach (this could include customers and IT staff), an overview of the training needs, and s plan for how you will satisfy the needs. You also need to define how the training will be developed and executed, as well as when the training will be deployed. Remember that training does not only imply stand-up, internal classes. You may consider bringing in outside trainers, using vendor classes, coaching sessions, webinars, how-to instructions, frequently asked questions, computer-based training, etc.

Develop the training content needed

If you complete the planning documents ahead of time, you will be ready to develop the training content at the same time that you are developing the rest of the solution. The Training Plan is not a schedule,.so you will need to add the remaining development and deployment activities to your schedule. However, at this point the confusion has been lifted and it should be clear what has to happen in the training arena.

Test the training content, if necessary

In most instances, the first time you deploy training is actually in a live environment with real users. However, sometimes the training is offered first to an internal group, or even the project team. This serves as a test of the material to make sure that it flows well. It also helps prepare the instructors so that they will be more comfortable delivering the training to the end users. If you are going to hold webinars or any other type of distance learning, you can test the technology and the delivery at this time.

Implementation

It was mentioned earlier that you typically want to train your users right before the solution is implemented. However, this is a generalization. Actually, the training deployment is based on the timing specified in your project Training Plan. However, what you should notice is that this approach reduces the chance that your training will be rushed, or that your training will somehow miss the mark. Assuming you followed the prior steps, at this point in the project you should have developed (and perhaps even tested) your training content, and you should be ready to go regardless of when the training is needed.

Summary

What you see in this approach is that the training delivery also follows a life cycle. Just as you do not want to jump straight into your project Construction Phase, you also do not want to wait to the last moment and then quickly jump into building the training content. Some up-front planning is the key, as well as making sure that you do any construction of training content at the same time that you are constructing your solution. Just as you ensure that the implementation of your final solution will go smoothly, you can also ensure you will have a smooth training deployment by using this structured approach.

At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at admin@TenStep.com.
Read 3260 times Last modified on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 18:04
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