Section 3.8. Training

3.8. Training

In the phase shown previously, you and your team took the time to create an initial version of your process program. Because you did this through tight interaction with the partner groups, you should all share something of a common understanding of the program. This understanding is good, but it's probably not enough to ensure smooth, wide use of the program. In the next phase, you are actually going to run the program through a pilot, and pretty soon, you're going to roll out the program to the whole enterprise. And so it's very important that you think about providing some degree of training and education in the use of the program. If you have been working on a finely targeted program with a small group of support players, then your training needs may be somewhat contained. If you have been working on a large program, with many contributing groups, you will undoubtedly face a larger training challenge.

But be careful not to skimp on training. The lack of training may well be one of the chief reasons process programs fail. It's not that people don't want to follow the program; it may be that they don't know how to follow the program. To figure it out on their own may seem like too much extra work. That's why adequate training is so important. It gives people the background and the tools they need to use a new program. And it gives them a chance to become familiar with the program and with how it will impact, and hopefully improve, their jobs.

The success of your process program will rest largely on the relationship your people have with it along three lines:

  • Understanding

  • Accessibility

  • Comfort

First of all, your people are going to have to understand the program. They are going to need to know its contents, appreciate what parts apply to them, and understand how to use these parts. Next they are going to need direct and unfettered accessibility to the program. This aids understanding. Especially in the early stages, people will be moving through your process components a lot, finding their way through tools and forms, learning where things are, and establishing paths of common access. For this reason, accessibility needs to be focused on ease and speed. If you put up barriers to getting to the program, you'll quickly find that people stop trying to get there. The final trait is comfort. There's a parallel relationship between the success of your process program and the degree of comfort your people have with it. The more comfortable they are with the program, the more they will take advantage of it.

Training will help ensure that all these elements come together for your people.

You may consider training in two phases. Right now you may be focused solely on the pilot. The extent of training at this point may not need to be overly intensive. The scope of the pilot and the number of people involved may only require a less formal and more personal approach to training. More in-depth training will be required later.

But whatever your approach, keep a strong focus on training. Begin to develop materials early on. Plan for the delivery of training and training needs like facility space, hand-out materials, and support materials.

Training will usually take one of three general forms in a technology organization. Let's briefly take a look at these three now.

3.8.1. Formal Training and Instruction

Formal training using takes the form of classroom training or some type of computer-based training. When carefully designed and competently delivered, it proves to be a highly productive way to disseminate knowledge.

Just about any process program will benefit from the support of formal training. Keep a few things in mind when you plan for formal training:

  • Provide for general, high-level, orientation-type classes as well as detailed, nuts-and-bolts classes.

  • Target the audiences for the classes and plan course material based on that. Not everyone will need to go through full program training. Understand who will be working in what areas and plan training to accommodate the needs of these different groups.

  • Make sure that training sessions are scheduled well in advance to coordinate with people's schedules and that times are varied and flexible to allow for maximum participation.

  • Spend time developing good course materials. The better your materials, and the more you make them generally available to people, the more effective they will be.

3.8.2. TBWA

A great complement to formal training is TBWA, "training by walking around." That borrows from MBWA, "management by walking around." MBWA is based on the idea that you can learn the most about how your people work by walking around and watching them work. Sitting in your office, waiting for things to come to you, is a pretty poor substitute. It's the same with learning. For your process program, you may have developed some very good and comprehensive class materials. And you may have succeeded in delivering a very beneficial series of courses. Training by walking around can be a very effective follow-up to this. By walking around and observing, by sitting in during process activities, by being available to lend a helping hand, you can gauge quite well how much of the training has sunk it, where people are working well, and where they might need some extra help.

In programs I help design, I try to build in the capability for TBWA. I do this by assigning project quality analysts (PQAs) onto project teams.[*] The PQAs serve a general process-audit and compliance role, but they serve as regular coaches for project teams. By being assigned to a team, the PQA is generally on hand to provide advice and guidance about how parts of the program should be used.

[*] The role of project quality analyst is used in the three leading quality programs, though with varying emphasis and focus. You'll find this role described in Part Two of this book in Chapters 5, 6, and 7.

TBWA is also a good way to determine what kinds of additional learning folks may need and what kinds of training may need to be added to the formal training program.

Process Improvement Essentials
Process Improvement Essentials: CMMI, Six SIGMA, and ISO 9001
ISBN: 0596102178
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 116

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