I often get asked by my clients, with the pace of change how do you keep your training materials up to date?
There comes a point in time when you just give up.
Or there comes a point where you know there is a different way.
Because I’ve worked at start ups and software companies where product changed at least weekly, we had to be creative and a strategic in the way we created and maintained training materials.
If I am creating something brand new, immediately think about longevity. How long is this document, presentation, course, job aid, video going to last? When will be used? For how long? What’s the purpose and the audience behind it? Answering some of these questions helps me narrow down the actual output created.
If I am working with maintaining existing material I work through a simple change matrix. Based on a scale of 1-10, a team member works through number of people impacted, look and feel (UX) change, and workflow impact. After agreeing on a rating for these few factors the numbers would add up to a specific change level and we’d focus on the working through materials from there.
Sounds like a lot of work, but it was pretty simple once it was in place. We can quickly focus on updating the materials appropriately for the change to support the performance we expected out of the impacted audience.
I’ve created these for the sanity of my own teams, but also to help set expectations with customers and our own leadership. Having a clear picture of what and when will be available and up to date based on the specifics of a change, made working with the teams easier.
Finally, the other way I focus on sustainable based training, is by focusing on the workflows or business process. Building this type of training materials and programs could be more involved as they may overlap systems and be cross functional. If you create training based on use cases of a workflow, this could mean less maintenance. One could assume that the process changes less often than the product. I understand it may not always be the case, but primary this is what I have seen with my experience. These programs took longer to design and build, but they took less time to upkeep. I will probably write more on this so stay tuned.
If this is something that your organization needs help with, drop me a line. Would love to help figure out what the factors and scale are for creating sustainable training programs and documentation.
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