As seen by recent news and posts, training and change management continue to be the Achilles’ heel of enterprise software implementations. One cause of training and change management failure is that project teams routinely underestimate the technology skill sets of end users.
Let’s face it, implementation team members are fairly tech savvy and often assume end users will pick up concepts quickly because they do. I have been involved in several projects where the project team’s mentality was “people book their airline tickets on-line and shop at Amazon, so they should be familiar with web-based systems or self-service functionality.” These same team members were shocked to find out during training that the users struggled with Microsoft Office and basic web navigation.
When developing baseline expectation in change management and training plans, don’t forget (that even in 2010) there are still a lot of people who dial the 800 number to buy airline tickets, write checks at the grocery store and don’t shop on-line. Project teams should use these as baseline assumptions and work their way up from there by assessing the technical skills of the end users. Change impact assessments should be conducted early on in the project to properly asses end-user skills and provide the time necessary to develop different levels of training based on end-user competency.
A one size fits all approach only works if everybody is one the same level – which is rarely the case in large organizations. If different training levels are not an option due to time or budget constraints, consider offering pre-training in basic system concepts or informal learning labs for those users who need it. Additional training classes, learning labs or small group help sessions should be made available post go-live as that is when it’s often needed the most.