Interview – Amandine, Senior Finance Controller
After over 10 years in business controlling, Amandine implemented a Performance management solution dedicated to staff in Controlling and Operations. She shares with us her experience as project manager through describing the key roles of project communication, meaningful training and tool adoption by the end users. Three factors that guarantee the success of a transformation project.
Adopting a new tool is not necessarily easy for a user. How did you support them in this change ?
» We included training time in the project roadmap to reassure the user teams. Their fears were thus anticipated and they felt considered from the start of the project. We informed them very early on of the key stages relevant to them and allowed time for discussions during training sessions. This created a climate of trust that was beneficial to the project and the tool.
How did you maintain the link between the project team and the users during the training ?
We provided trainings on site, just before each major launch. It fostered proximity with the teams and enabled ownership of the tool. The project team (key users and myself) gave the trainings because they know the business and everyday life of the users. The teams were reassured and were able to ask concrete questions. This interaction was also a precious opportunity to respond to other questions concerning the project as a whole.
Which actors were involved in the training process ?
Human Resources advised me on the organization of the sessions and helped to draw up satisfaction questionnaires. It reinforced the importance of the training sessions in the eyes of the participants. Two key users wrote training materials, following the detailed framework that I developed, and two others proofread them. This approach brought pedagogy and concrete information to the field teams. During the training sessions, the presence of at least one key user was a precious help in answering the questions and relaying messages.
How many participants in a training session would you recommend ?
Too many participants in training can have a negative impact on the project and on the tool. To engage everyone and make sure that no one is lost in the tool, a group of fifteen people seems to be the maximum number of participants.
What is the right timing to deliver training on a new tool ?
The training can be badly experienced if it carries out too far in advance of the final utilisation. The group can forget and feel lost at the time of implementation if they have not had a chance to put the theory into practice. It is better to organise two short training sessions, right before each launch of new functionalities, rather than have one longer training session.
Could end users easily see themselves using the tool? Did they visualize how they would use the tool in the future ?
We proposed a training environment very similar to what was going to be implemented. Having a pre-production environment for the duration of the project is ideal. In such an environment and just before launch, the users experience live conditions during the training session.
What were the concrete training methods ?
We devoted most of the training time to a “real” practical case, such as producing a budget. The very first session started with a quick reminder of the project and of the general principles of the application. We then showed an overview of the application modules and presented each screen in detail. We described the actions to be performed in a step-by-step handout, which then became a user manual. The teams tried out the application during the presentation, so that they were ready for the practice case that followed. We concluded each training session by presenting the next steps and the actions expeted from the teams. As early as the first training sessions, everyone could access a FAQ consolidating questions from users and answers from the project team. At the end of the project, it supplemented the user manuals as a reference document. After full implementation of the application, we proposed training sessions to those users interested in deepening their knowledge of the tool.
How did you measure the ownership of the users during these trainings ?
The training is a precious time of exchange for the user teams as much as it is for the project team. Hearing how users felt about the project and the tool was key for me. We carried out satisfaction surveys at the end of each training session. The feedbacks helped us to quickly improve the sessions and project communication where necessary. We kept track of questions asked and requests for improvement made during training sessions and answered them in the FAQ. This built team confidence and
credibility towards those teams.
Have you built a training support ?
After each training session, it is important to update what has been done over previous training sessions. This facilitates the production of the most comprehensive user guide support possible. We then officially communicated it to all concerned.
What last piece of advice would you give to ensure user buy-in ?
STAY POSITIVE… while being realistic and transparent!! You will put the odds on one’s side for obtaining the full support of the team ! »