Sunday, August 30, 2009

Training? Don't Do THIS!

Are you getting some training soon, are you planning for some soon? Let me offer my opinion?

As a consultant/trainer one thing that really gets me down is when I find out that students who just went through training don't actually start their project right away or worse get assigned to a project using something else for months. Why does it bother me? Because it is a colossal waste of everything! Your time, my time, the firm's money, morale...everything.

Is your firm going to start training soon? Are they doing it the "old school" way...train for a few days and then go back to regular work? PLEASE!!! Don't! You are just wasting your precious resources.

This might seem counterintuitive, a consultant/trainer suggesting you don't train?? Believe it or not we want you to succeed and we like knowing that our students have been successful. I suppose there are some who might just be happy to get paid and not care what you do with the knowledge or how successful you are but speaking for myself and many others I know, we hate finding out about this.

Before you train make sure you have something real and productive for the students to do with Revit after training before you commit. Then make sure they do it immediately after training ends. Better still embrace the concept that I advocate and that CDV Systems has been using for several years now, "Train the Project".

It's a familiar thing to read and hear, practice makes perfect. Training makes people aware of features, gets them familiar with techniques and builds confidence but using the software for real, on a project, is what makes it all really sink in.

Okay I know, you make great plans and reality messes everything up. Just promise to try try try your best!!?? I wish you all the best in this!!


Aaron Vorwerk said...

Amen to that! We want our students to succeed, or we wouldn't be doing this. Moving to a new platform requires an implementation plan...not just a few days spent in a training setting.

Enzo Fighetti said...

I can´t agree more with you. This is something that everybody knows, but no one say... Maybe to be politically correct with training companies…
We also don´t recommend the official training… and prefer the old fashion way.. and IT WORKS FOR US!!

Rob Clark said...

Sorry, but I am going to have to disagree and I'll explain why. I was a pilot technician on Revit for a very large (more than 10,000 employees) consultancy and offered advice regarding deployment, standardisation and training, including organisinig it. I now work as a Revit Trainer.

The reason companies do this, over train, is due to the truth of working in this industry. That the unexpected occurs, people go off sick, people leave, project requirements change at a moments notice and unfortunetly you need the resource in place in some sort of capacity otherwise the consequences can be serious and severe for the business, which has indeed occured in the past at my previous company, which will remain nameless and why they have vowed never to make the same mistake again.

You can cover it later with top up training, which is exactly what happened in a couple of instance. However for the majority of those who were trained without a project requirement, they were working on the software either full or part time within a couple of months, due to sick leave, people leaving etc etc.

Steve said...

My post is coming from the position of firms that do not have full time training/support staff.

Companies that have dedicated staff for training have the luxury of training "inefficiently" (teasing).

Studies supposedly show that people forget a scary amount of information in just a short time after hearing it. It takes repetition and information supplied from a variety of sources to stick. This is also because people learn differently.

To train casually with no real purpose, like a starting a project immediately, is for most firms, a waste of money and resources. Too many of their staff just don't retain enough of the training to make them productive without some review. Over the last four years I have trained one person four times because of this. Yes I let them break the rule. A client is correct even when they are wrong, correct?

Even the firm you describe can't expect a person who was rudimentarily trained three months ago to be as effective as if they just finished training and started work immediately thereafter.

If there were successes those are exceptions and it isn't a good plan to base expectations on your "best case" or "fastest learner" scenario either.

I realize there are exceptions to "my rule" but from where I sit it stands. 8-)

Thanks for sharing your perspective!

Rob Clark said...

I completely understand and sympathy with what you are saying Steve. Indeed, it was once my opinion as well. I can also understand the frustration of the Revit users.

However the question remains. How, using the technique just mentioned, would you cover the unexpected?

If you train just enough resource, you have no contingence.

What we found with technicians that had been left with project work for a little while was that it was a good idea to have them partner up with an experienced user of the software, that way, with top up (rather than full on training) training, we didn't see a significant loss in efficiency while been able to avoid serious hiccups in our project schedule.

I freely admit that its a very difficult management decision that should be carefully considered, and your point about people retaining knowledge is definitely one I can identify with, however I don't believe, with respect, that the best advice is too simply say “as a rule” not to do it in any circumstance... in my opinion of course.

Steve, I hope we get to meet some day at an industry event, I'm sure we'd enjoy a chat over a beer! :-)

I'm on linkedin if you would like to add me.

Steve said...

It boils down to this, if I was faced with training staff knowing full well that they would not be assigned to a Revit project for weeks or months I would not do the training for them.

Life intervenes and best laid plans are thrown asunder.

If a project kicks off suddenly then I'd get a trainer on-site to get them started using project based training as it will out perform a generic exercise training program easily. If that wasn't possible then I'd make arrangements with a reseller to get them into a class just prior to joining the team.

I'd rather rush around getting training done just-in-time than doing it months in advance and letting it evaporate.

Training just in case we need evaporating every day he doesn't use the software.

Not everyone can handle the "rush around, just-in-time" approach or attitude so they train ahead but there is inherent "waste" involved.

My post isn't necessarily a rule to live by, rather a poke in the chest to think about training a little bit deeper than I find many firms doing.

Cheers, a beer would be good!