When is the right time to conduct End User Training in Oracle implementation?
One question that continues to baffle the program management community around Training delivery in large ERP implementation programs is when to deliver end user Training? The answer is probably not as straight as you may expect. Let's first discuss the constraints around this decision:
- Go Live Date: If there is a huge gap between Go Live Date and User Training, the user tends to forget what they learnt as during this period they have to continue using the legacy system and will not be able to unlearn some of the old practices and habits post go-live. On the other hand, if the training continues till the last date, you will not be able to make an apt decision towards user readiness and its implications on implementation Go No Go Decision.
- Availability of Users: Typically the entire User community would be engaged with Business as Usual activities before implementation. With Training, users will be engaged in sessions, thus how would the day to day activities be supported? Further, typically a month end (worst still would be Quarter/Year End) is where any loss of man days is intolerable. Lastly any planning around Training should avoid long weekends and hugely followed sports events that ensures that user's personal priorities are considered as well as travel costs are not high due to travel season...so a win-win for both....
- Varied Needs of Users: Even while planning sessions, organization needs to consider the variability amongst the different user groups and their unique training needs. A field Service agents or agents working from home office may be difficult to reach out to while we have to ensure that regular calls are not affected while training a Call Centre Employee. A more frequent user of the system would have to be given a much more elaborate training as compared to the ones who only use it infrequently or in read only mode. Also need to consider remote users and external users' needs like supplier or customer training for portals. Accordingly the training schedule has to be worked out.
- Solution Readiness: With the end users, the biggest factor is Branding of the new solution. Organization can't go to end users and tell them the solution is not ready or you are still testing it. The solution for which they are being trained should be as close to production as possible. Unless this happens, there will be series of correction mails and a negative propaganda about the implementation which may put roadblocks towards the implementation. So, you may like to conduct training sessions post successful UAT. However, if set of users are involved in UAT, you have to plan training for them in advance.
- Availability of Prepared Trainers/Infrastructure (Instance, Conference Rooms etc): Continuing with the Branding theme, everything about the implementation has to be perfect in front of internal customers 'End Users'. The Trainers have to be top notch and comfortable with the solution being implemented as well as should be able to relate to the end user's day to day tasks using practical scenarios and data. Further, the playground instance should be up and functioning as equivalent to the Production instance as possible (particularly on the performance parameter). Even the conference rooms, projectors, laptops, refreshments etc should be well organized for the sessions. Any rush towards training without apt preparation may create more problems than resolve them.
Overall at a high level, we typically advise our clients to wrap up End User Training about a 2 or more weeks before cutover activities, allowing that gap for people to practice and get back in case of any doubts or in case of any refresher trainings. The start of training would depend on program to program, but we would advise that to begin once the complete solution is tested 99%. We typically begin conducting training somewhere near mid of UAT phase (UAT, super users and sample end users would have undergone training earlier).
If you'd like to share your experiences related to timing of the training and have any successful secrets to share, please let us know though this blog!