Over the last week I have been hearing from Client Success Managers across the globe about how our Pega clients tackle training to make it repeatable, effective, and scalable. I have learnt a lot through this research and so I thought I would share some of my findings to help you with your own training strategies.
Firstly, training shouldn’t be an afterthought, get your business resources involved early in shaping a new application, so that you can expose it throughout the project to your own experts. This practice ensures that your business resources not only influence the solution that is being configured, helping to make it as intuitive as possible, but that they also start to build up their own knowledge and capability with the solution. Effective collaboration is at the heart of our Pega Express™ delivery approach, which outlines the different opportunities to bring your business team members into the mix, whether it’s through design sprints, testing, co-production, or being part of the scrum ceremonies that support the sprints.
Secondly, use your business and technical resources to design the application to be as user-friendly as possible. Not only does this make the solution ‘lovable’ in the eyes of your end users, but also helps to reduce training overhead. User experience and user interface experts can make your experiences simple and easy to use by both end users and your own employees.
Don’t underestimate the value of strong change management techniques. Any training you deliver will be more closely followed and enthusiastically applied if the users understand why the new solution is so important to your organization and its future success. Having sponsors communicate or visit end users to explain this is extremely powerful.
In addition, ensure that the end users being trained are well supported and have an opportunity to easily raise questions and issues in an appropriate way. One example that I heard here was giving end users access to chat channels or discussion boards, where they could raise questions and ask for help from the wider community of trained users. Furthermore, end users should be supported by a triage process that helps navigate any issues being raised, to ensure that any genuine bugs are reported for fixing and that training issues with the application are captured and processed separately.
Have a sound environment strategy for your training. Some clients use staging, others use specially designed training environments (supported by devops capability) to provide a mirror copy of production to train on. Linked to this is the need to ensure that the solution is designed with training in mind where possible, so that changes in releases can be easily identified and that the overhead for creating the data is as simple as possible.
To support training at scale is a challenge for many organizations (especially for large global clients and now, with virtual working during the Covid-19 pandemic), which often requires compromises in the approach to creating an appropriate blend of hands-on, instructor led training, and/or scalable on-demand training. Client Success Managers have described how their clients have trained superusers, managers and coaches, that then re-join their larger geographically dispersed teams to help support them as they roll out scalable learning from virtual training sessions.
Virtual training can be more than just a video, like our very own Pega academy courses that have hands-on, interactive elements. These elements make training an engaging experience that is available and accessible to large global audiences. Virtual training is also less disruptive, allowing teams to take training during quieter moments, as opposed to being applied in a more rigid way during a specific work shift. Virtual courses also facilitate easier maintenance, whereby a training module that is impacted by a new release can be more easily changed, leaving surrounding modules untouched.
The power of virtual training is that it can also be used to create a hybrid model, in which specific elements of a process or solution can be trained using a hands-on approach, and the more cosmetic and simpler changes (that usually occur more often), can be supported by short videos and recorded demos that are easier to produce and share with global teams.
Make the most of the tools and repositories that support your business today. Clients are using knowledge management tools to store help articles and training documentation and make information immediately available to their teams. Finally, listen to your users, take onboard what works well and what can be improved. A novel example in this space is the use of surveys – clients poll their teams to understand which areas of training need to be improved and then act on the feedback as part of the improvement backlog.
Training is a fundamental part of any operation and supports critical production systems. From talking with our Client Success team members, we can see that there are clear best practices being used that enable purposeful and scalable training strategies. Why not take a moment and see how you can improve your training so you can get more out of your Pega investment!