Building New Skills

How to Create Career Opportunities for Your Peers:

Train your End Users

So, you’re ready to launch.  Your Content Stewards are all trained up and ready to go.   Now, we have to spread the word to the masses.   Get everyone excited and teach your people how to use this portal.   This is a (relatively) simple but VERY CRITICAL factor in user adoption.   User adoption is the #1 KPI that determines the success of your portal.  You want to get this right!

Who should attend?

Well… everyone should attend.  Your goal is to put this new productivity tool in the hands of as many users as you can.  If you’ve done a good job of listening to the needs of your end users, then you will be eager to show them what you have come up with on their behalf.  Additionally, it’s likely that they will be just as excited to see it (if it does what they asked you to make it do).   J

What should be covered?

You want your users to be “comfortable” using the portal and get them to a level where the basics become routine activities to them.   For starters, focus on daily usage like:

  • Navigation options (where to find stuff)
  • Content organization (how to find stuff)
  • Uploading a document / multiple documents
  • Creating sites/lists/libraries (if you gave them the authority to do so)
  • Creating / using MySites (if enabled)
  • Adding/removing items to a list, or customizing list options.
  • Attaching Metadata to documents upon upload

Additionally, you can create some simple “How-to” content and store it in a wiki or site library for users to search through when the need some help and want to research it themselves.   Training modules (offered by Microsoft) can be plugged right into your portal for self-paced training.

Another great (and inexpensive) resource is Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 Introduction Quick Reference Guide.    You can pick this up for about $3.60 per copy.  It’s a great “cheat sheet” to introduce new users to the interface of SharePoint (in this case 2007) and show them around.    Pick one up for yourself and give it to a user to test.  If the results are good, buy more!

How to follow up?

It’s a great idea to check for learning (acceptance).  Portal usage statistics will give you a good idea, but you also want to get the “vibe” of the users and how they like using the tool.   You can use another feedback survey (we’ll talk about that in the next post), or you can follow up with the users directly.

If you have the time and facility resources, I like the idea of “refresher” training and/or introducing more advanced topics when users are ready to take them on.   Host brown-bag (or lunch & learn) sessions, schedule formal training classes, or even send some users to formal training offered by 3rd parties.  If you’re in the Dallas area, TekFokus is a great training resource.

Whatever methods you choose for user education, make sure you DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.   It could be fatal to your portal solution.

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