The implementation of software packages brings its share of changes, many of them in the way of working. For this reason, the training of the project team members is crucial since it ensures an optimal level of performance on their part. Training can be approached from several angles: productivity tools, methodology, software packages to be implemented, operation in project mode, etc. We will focus here on training on software packages.
When should software package training begin?
Ideally, training should begin immediately after the project launch meeting in order to rapidly create a mobilization effect. Training on the software included in the project scope will be beneficial in a number of respects. It lets team members familiarize themselves with the new technology. It also simplifies the process of matching the business needs that the project aims to satisfy with the functionalities offered by the software packages.
Participants in training may feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information that they receive in training sessions. It is perfectly normal not to be able to remember everything: the essential point, at the start of the project, is to be informed of the possibilities of the “toolbox,” not to become proficient in the tools in question.
What kind of training will the project team receive?
It is important to understand that the training given to the project team is very different from that which users will receive when the new system goes live.
Training for the project team is encyclopedic. It is aimed at enabling them to understand all the functionalities that will be available to them. User training, on the other hand, is designed to meet the individual needs of each user so that they can play their key role in the business processes that concern them.
During this training, participants receive theoretical instruction and have the opportunity to do practical exercises using the software package. Highly relevant questions are frequently asked. However, although they are all very relevant, they often fall outside the scope of the software package’s functionalities. In fact, they relate more to the choices of direction that the project team will have to make during the implementation of the software package. It is therefore recommended that these valuable questions be answered when participants return to the project offices.
Who will train the project team?
Training is usually provided by the vendor of applications or one of its partners. In some cases, training will be given by software implementation specialists, but most of the time by training specialists. Experience shows that better results are obtained using the latter.
The cost of this training is usually high but is well worth the expense. Training sessions are powerful accelerators that enable a project team to acquire a great deal of knowledge that is essential in the taking of multiple decisions throughout the project. One cannot expect to become an overnight expert on implementing the applications in question. Attaining expert proficiency in these tools usually requires years of experience acquired through involvement in a number of implementation projects.
Finally, care must be taken in preparing the entire training plan. This ensures that all relevant topics are covered. Sections of the training material that are not included in the scope of the project are also discarded. Logistical issues and budgetary constraints must be considered.