My AX 2012 Upgrade Project Plan - Deployment and Operations phase - User Training
So, for this blog, I will break our final part of the project plan into two major phases:
- The Deployment phase (Training and Production Release)
- The Operations phase (Post go live support and operations)
In terms of deployment, we were very focused in ensuring our users would be familiar and well trained in using AX 2012.
In my previous blog, I shared with you the process of how we did parallel testing to ensure the system was production ready, but it also did a great job in ensuring our users were well trained in the new version as they were actually doing the same tasks twice a day, once in the old version and once in the new version.
Before the parallel testing marathon though, we had multiple tactics in our training strategy:
- One on One sessions with our super users - During these one on ones we focused on first of all demonstrating what the new AX would look like, review the current forms and elicit opportunities to remove unused or irrelevant fields (Simplify where possible, and less to upgrade). Having the super users early onboard in reviewing the system would ensure we could scale helping others if needed after go live. Being part of the design, help them feel included, and also felt they had a say in the direction of the redesign of forms and thus an easier path to user adoption.
- Guerrilla Training sessions - Inspired by Sun Tzu's art of war and guerrilla tactics, we decided to train our user in very small groups, 3-4 per class with 2 trainers (functional analysts, plus sometimes developers). The classes were very focused on processes, not overall AX 2012 capabilities and overview. But processing specific tasks that were real life cases. It required developing training materials to match the process topics. So we created focused 10-12 page guides, rich with images and thin with words (no one really likes to read in this modern age). It worked very well, users got trained and were ready for parallel processing, we found bugs, and developers got a first hand perspective on how users used the system to perform their tasks. Plus, in small rooms, there is nowhere to hide, all were active and involved. In a room with 30-40 people ... lot's of lost focus and learning potential.
- Sandbox access - All users who had one on ones and then participated in guerrilla training classes were granted access to our sandbox install of AX. The intent was to allow users to go and safely explore the new version. Only a few used it, and most did not. Basically, if not mandated or under supervision, there was no incentive as people are always busy and playing in a sandbox has low priority in a busy day.
Parallel testing really was the critical success factor as it forced everyone to try every scenario with real life tasks in a safe environment.