Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gearing Up for the Big Project

Over the next few months, I will be putting the Moodle install, my training strategy, my presentation skills and my stamina through its paces. I hope to document our Electronic Medical Record upgrade over the next few months.

The main reason for the Moodle install is to help us with a major upgrade to our Electronic Medical Record. This upgrade is, essentially, a brand new program. If we don't get people into training of one sort or another - the entire organization stalls.

To complicate the picture, our organization (the CEO) wants to go live with this new program 60 days after the program is put in our test server. No change management time.

Oh, and did I mention that this program is in controlled release for Beta testing.

And that we are one of the first organizations to even SEE the program.

And there is little documentation...

And the vendor's trainers haven't seen a working version of the entire upgrade yet....

And there are only half-finished movies available for online tutorials.....

You see where this is going.

The training challenge on my plate is to train this new upgrade to 2000 people in 10 business days.

The vendor's recommended "Basic" level for the upgrade is 7 hours of material. We need to add more of the functionality beyond "Basic" to match what we are currently using.

My tentative estimate of training time per person - 5.5 hours. This includes chopping out stuff I hope our end-users figure out for themselves and NO practice time.

We are fortunate that the vendor wants us to be successful and is providing 3 trainers. This will allow the in-house folks (i.e. Arlene the Medicine trainer, Gesine, and me) to continue building training materials, provide support, and finish configuring the system (the trainers also do some system administration).

Our biggest problem is training space. We have 1 12 seat classroom. Our current space strategy - try to get classroom space from the affiliated university during midterms. Those of you who work for universities can stop laughing now....

So below is my first draft of our training / change management plan.

Week 1 - Project Team Training and Preliminary Configuration
- Project Team Training for the IT department from the vendor. Start configuration of system.

- Moodle. I have already opened up a course with vendor-provided information to the rest of the organization. I can't start developing our customized materials until we get the upgrade into our test servers and finish the preliminary configuration.

Week 2 - Change Management
- Start of weekly 2 hour SuperUser trainings. Because we have so many people, the departments are being forced to take more responsibility for getting through the upgrade. Each department (with some browbeating) gave us 2 people who will be the first line support for the upgrade and will provide training for any stragglers. Since we will have about 50 SuperUsers, we are going to place the SuperUsers into 4 cohorts. I will train 2 and Arlene will train 2.

These trainings will give the SuperUsers practice time with the system and give the IT department feedback on the configuration.

- Town Meetings. We are planning a series of 5 town meetings so that the providers and staff can see the system for the first time. We are asking the vendor to be there so they can answer questions (and take the heat) about the changes to the system.

- Moodle. I will be trying to crank out new tutorials. Moodle will be used in parallel throughout this upgrade in an attempt to get everyone their preferred mode of training.

Weeks 3 - 5 - Change Management
- SuperUser trainings continue

- Moodle. I will still be cranking out tutorials for Moodle and encouraging people to take a look.

- Departmental Meetings. The IT department will hold a series of Departmental meetings so that the individual departments can see Moodle and decide as a group how they want to use it. We hope to get workflows out of these meetings as well.

Week 6 - the calm before the storm
- SuperUser Training
- Moodle. I hope to have the tutorials for the upgrade finished.

Weeks 7-8 - Upgrade training!!!!
- SuperUser Training. The SuperUsers will do the final test of the live system with the IT Department.

- Face-to-face. The vendor's trainers will be teaching this course. For week 7 we hope to get 2 computer rooms from the university. Week 8 - 3 computer rooms. I did this knowing that our students will procrastinate. It is mid semester for the university at this point so I'm not feeling nearly as optimistic as the boss about getting the space for 2 weeks running. I'm still working on a plan B.....

- Moodle. I'll be opening a chat function within Moodle for the online users for 4 hours per day outside of business hours each day those weeks. I'll be running daily reports from Moodle to see who has done what on the system.

I'm hoping that lots of people take advantage of the online option. Mostly to keep the pressure off.

Week 9 - Go Live
- Face-to-face. I am teaching 1 Upgrade training per day during Go Live week to catch some of the stragglers who insist on IT-led training. The SuperUsers will be responsible for most of the training and support in their department.

- Moodle. I'll still be running reports on Moodle and offering chat for 4 hours per day outside of business hours within the online class.

- Advanced training. I'm going to offer an advanced class for the more ambitious providers towards the end of that week.

Week 10 - Winding Down
- SuperUsers. The SuperUser training turns into a 1 hour standing meeting to address issues and questions.

- Moodle. I am going to build some advanced tutorials and reorganize the existing training to mirror the changes to our system. All of the tutorials for the old version are archived.

Week 11 - I go far far away for a long vacation.


Paul Fender said...

Wow. Very ambitious :)

We did a similar "slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am" launch for our HR application upgrade (PeopleSoft 8) at the last company I worked for. Our call center was the one tasked with supporting the end users when they struggled with the interface... 3-5 hours of training for the agents per day for a week (and that was only the "front end" piece). And, of course, everyone hated the new application.

The biggest hurdle I experienced (IMO) was that the test server was terribly unstable during out training sessions so we couldn't even see most demonstrations of the tool. It turned into a lot of step-action tables and process "talk-through", and our agents couldn't actually practice with the tool themselves :(. I found that our super-users ended up really saving the day but it almost killed them as they became the general dumping ground - so here's my one piece of advice... Clearly define what goes to a "super-user" and what doesn't or every one will _start_ with them (even for very simple problems) and they'll get overwhelmed very quickly.

Good Luck :)

Wendy said...

Sadly - that's what the 50 super-users are there for - the first line of defense so that issues are (somewhat) triaged before they get to IT.

The alternative - take the 15 people from the IT staff, including the trainers, and have them answer phones, run around 2-3 buildings to help people, and fix computers all at the same time.

As it stands, the 15 people in the IT department will still get about 1/2 of the first line calls.

The only good side of this whole process is that the upgrade tries to address some long-standing issues with the program. Most of the doctors who have seen brief demos feel that once they get past the short-term pain, the upgrade will help them be more effective.

As for the instability of the test server during training - I will be surprised if that is NOT the case. Again, we're getting a CR 1 release. Not a stable general release product.

You can tell how excited I am about the whole project ;' )

Harold Jarche said...

If the performance issue is a lack of skills or knowledge, then I can see how a training program could address individual performance needs. However, it seems that the real performance issue is that you have a new tool that is not intuitive. Personally, I would look at how you can make the tool easier to use, with some kind of performance support (which should have been done by the vendor anyway).

In this case, you need to remove the barriers to performance, which appear to be:

inadequate resources (the new system which is not intuitive); and
lack of motivation to learn the new system (have to make it easier or more motivating).

If most workers are already using the old system, then they probably have the skills and knowledge to use the new system; they just need a good roadmap.

I would reduce the training and increase the support with better tools.

Wendy said...

I wish I had that much control of the software and I wish there was better performance support from the vendor. As it stands, we have neither.

At some point, I'll be able to build the performance support tools for our organization. That will be an evolutionary thing.

Harold Jarche said...

You could always say that you got this advice from an "outside consultant" and then they might pay attention ;-)

Good luck.