Thursday, February 05, 2009

Saving Me from Myself

So I had all of these grandiose ideas for improving the new user training. Figured the upgrade was a good opportunity to create a better support system for the end user.

Created a simple 1 page questionaire for feedback.

Presented it to the IT folks.

Wendy - this is out of scope for the project. Let's focus on communicating the upgrade changes.

My initial reaction:

You don't understand!!!! This is the perfect opportunity to provide end-user support!!! I know it needs to be at the department level, but the institutional knowledge is missing!

This was all mental. And, thankfully, I was on teleconference so no one could see my body language.

Then I shut up and listened.

End-user training for this very complicated product rightfully belongs to the departments. They can provide the context that I just flat out can't since I am not a day-to-day user.

Actually, training this application is only 5% of my job - so it hasn't gotten the attention it probably deserves.

The end-user departments, as part of the project, will be working on documenting their current processes and required workflow modifications as part of the upgrade.

The User Acceptance Testing (which our team facilitates) will help close the knowledge gaps existing among the departments.

The IT team is open to creating a clearinghouse of the information that results from the upgrade. Which is really all we need. One place to point to where people can get information / help / job aids.


The PM just called me and asked whether I wanted to talk to the Enterprise Steering committee about training this morning.

I said no.

I'll sit in the meeting to observe and write down issues that come up. I am not going to open up a new can of worms if I don't need to.

Thanks guys for saving me from myself.


Anonymous said...

Hello Wendy,

Not sure how I found your blog but it came through one of my alerts. Very interesting as I used to work in a user experience group for a company with very complex software products. Does any one group at your company "own" the complete user experience for your products? Or is it all kind of split between the developers, product managers, product marketing, interface designers, training, service and support? Do you folks do usability testing and any ethnographic research? Just wondering....

Alden Cushman

Wendy said...

Alden - Thanks for reading my blog.

The closest thing to a group that "owns" the user experience are 2 steering committees - an ISS committee (the ones who do the configuration) and an end-user committee.

We have to work with what the vendor gives us. In this case - a product that is not intuitive. Since we can't change the user interface, the ISS folks work with the end-user folks to try and create a functional workflow that is not too painful.

That's about as close as we get to usability testing.

Any "ethnographic research" that is done is painfully informal.

Hope this provides some insight.

Anonymous said...

Hello Wendy,

Thanks for the information, very interesting and very constricting. Just curious if you track the comments and feedback you get from your customer support/service line? Any feel for what the top three complaints are?


Wendy said...

The big 3 I hear about - from a training perspective are:
- How do I print out a class roster
- How do I find student information
- How do I add/remove a student from a class.

I've informally incorporated those as examples in our current training.

Overall complaints - One biggie centers around issues with the Java download required for the ap. If it winds up in my court - I can at least give them the lingo to help them communicate with the help desk.

Second biggie - "I don't have access to......"

That's an issue with the way the user accounts are created (a long and painful process not even controlled by the IT department).

I've been working with the Help Desk on figuring out ways to get information out of their tracking system that can help with training. Reporting out of our current help desk system(s) is not as strong as it could be (by a longshot). And there is still quite a bit of informal stuff occuring that isn't tracked at all.

It's a process.....things move slow....