Thursday, July 09, 2009

Day 1: A Tolerance for Chaos is a Good Thing

As somewhat anticipated when doing training on an evolving system, things did not quite work out as hoped. They did work out as expected.

Some of the challenges:

- Users who were not completely set up. They have been trying to implement permissions and it has complicated the user setup process in unanticipated ways. Thankfully - Developer is a saint.

- Stakeholders who don't quite understand what they signed up for. Sometimes, the reality of a project doesn't sink in until they have to do the work.

- Stakeholder groups who realize that there are more decisions that need to be made NOW. This is a corellary to the above. One of today's groups spent much more time discussing consistency issues than I would have liked. Cut into the workshop time and, I suspect, may have helped confuse some of the audience.

- A trainer still trying to figure out ways to communicate the nuances of a very complicated system. Figuring out how best to explain getting their content from hanging out in the Content Manager to display on the site itself ("channeling the content" for those in the WebDev field) is a greater challenge than I had anticipated.

- A system that is still suffering from configuration changes and the occasional "crash". A known hazard of training in parallel with development. I've dealt with worse. But it's still very difficult and confusing for the student. All I can do is make my best attempts to mitigate the issue as much as possible. We are definitely going to do a follow-up with a couple of people affected by the technical issues.

Also found that my attempt to demonstrate Quick Action creation should have been done in the opposite order. Show the specific example, THEN show them how to create a generic to copy over. Lesson learned.

One of the team members insistence on having open sessions turned out to be a good call. We are going to need them. And I suspect they will be all hands on deck.

Overall, despite the preparation, the sessions felt disorganized and I fear that my goal of the end-user being able to work at their desk with a higher level of comfort was not achieved. I talked it over with the team. No one seemed bothered by it - and I got a thank-you from a couple of people. But it bothers me.

I'm gonna sleep on it and see if I can figure out a better approach....


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

'Twas ever thus Wendy. Kia ora!

I think you have summarised well some of the vagaries of working on evolving systems.

I sense that you have (rightly) shown empathy for the learner. These follow-ups are so important. They do a number of things to help the learner. But they also bring opportunity for the trainer to build a relationship with the learners, which helps them too.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

Wendy said...

Ken - it also highlights the need to plan for shorter and more frequent sessions with the same group of people. Sadly - projects never account for that time in the push to get stuff done NOW.

To the team's credit - this is one of the few instances where they actually accounted for support and open follow-up in their project planning. First time I've ever seen this.

LOVE working with this team....