New Software Implementation? Here are Some Learning & Documentation Strategies to Think About.
My name is Jennifer MacMillan, and I am with the ASCENT division of Rand Worldwide. If you don’t already know me or ASCENT, we specialize in learning content development and documentation. After 25+ years with Rand Worldwide, I am proud to say that Rand really values and leverages the strengths of all employees from all our divisions. In fact, I was recently asked to present a webcast for the IMAGINiT division. I got to share my experiences and best practices in working in content development, specifically as it relates to documentation and training and how they both can play such an important role in the successful implementation of new software.
My presentation covered the following three main objectives with the goal of providing practical tips and take-aways that you should be thinking about for each:
I hope you will consider watching the recording of my webcast, but if you are unable to, I’ve summarized key points here:
Tips for Training your Implementation Team:
- The implementation team needs to know all that the software can do to make informed decisions. Send them for training together so they all get the same baseline knowledge of the new software.
- At this point in the process, I don’t see a need for expensive customized training materials to be developed. (There will certainly be a time for this). I suggest focusing on standard software training offerings that are available from your training partner.
- Ask your training partner to have dedicated instructor-led classes for your own team that fits with your schedule and provides time for collaboration.
- Don’t try to fit in too much in too short a time or narrow the focus of the training at this stage.
Tips for Documenting your Standards and Workflows:
- Understand that good documentation takes time. Set aside the proper time and resources to ensure it is done right. Don’t leave it for a team member to finish in their “free time”.
- Incorporate a documentation specialist into the implementation team where this resource’s sole responsibility should be documenting the standards and workflows that the team develops.
- Create an all-encompassing documentation policy to explain the objectives of all the standards and workflows, define who must adhere to them, explain why they are being implemented and how to use them, describe who is responsible for governing and enforcing them, and even describe the change process that will be used to keep them up to date. Having this type of policy will help all your end users gain a better understanding of the importance you are placing on the standards to encourage user buy-in and encourage adoption.
Tips for Training your Entire Design Team:
- Understand that training is not an insignificant cost. Do not delay planning for end-user training. I suggest you budget for it as early in the implementation as possible.
- Do not train your end-users too early or you risk everyone not being able to practice their new skills because the software hasn’t been fully rolled out for users to work with.
- Define and group users by role to help identify their required learning requirements and to train them on only what they NEED TO KNOW.
- Train end-users first on what the new software can do and second, train them on your company’s unique standards and workflow procedures.
- Focus on using standard software training offerings that are available from your training partner for “software skills” training and look to create custom learning content for the “standards and workflow” training.
- Consider all training delivery methods. Often the best solutions are a blend of Instructor-led in a classroom with online or self-paced eLearning.