Project Practitioners > It's a Training Issue

It's a Training Issue

By Ann Drinkwater


Training is a key part of successful project implementations. I've recently noticed an increase in solutions to software or technical issues cited as training issues. Those in the IT and customer support functions are well aware of the references and associated jokes to statements "it is a training issue". I have been deeply involved in building, selling, purchasing and supporting all facets of software projects and sometimes issues can most definitely be training issues; however, we don' want to cry wolf and rush to judgment on feedback received on our projects. It can be very frustrating to a user and customer to constantly be informed their inability to effectively use a software feature or product is a training issue. This goes back to providing exceptional customer service. Below are some areas to validate and consider before proclaiming training is the answer:


1)    Meet with the User and Replicate the Scenario - Personally engage to completely understand the user’s viewpoint and difficulty in using the system or project.

2)    Collect Real Work Samples from the End User - Ask the user for samples of what he/she is trying to process through the system. This will then be used for the following steps.

3)    Analyze the Situation – Carefully review items from #1 and #2. Discuss and review the scenarios with other members of your team to gain a wider perspective and viewpoint.

4)    Poll Other Users – Ask other users of the system or project for their input on the usability and ease of use of the issue in question.

5)    Observe Actual User Behavior First-Hand – Perform a sample of random usability tests to increase your understanding of user activity patterns and issues. This and other steps listed are also a very useful and proactive step to perform when building the system or project, before delivering to the customer.

6)    Determine the Best Course of Action – With all the necessary data and input from a variety of individuals, determine if there is a better, more efficient method for getting from point A to point B. It may be that to complete the process the user needs additional training, but if the user and especially a group of users are all stumbling at the same point, the software may need to be adjusted.

7)    Communicate Findings & Next Steps – With all your research and analysis of the data completed, meet with the customer to discuss possible alternatives and come to an agreement. Keeping the customer involved and part of the solution will help resolve this issue and keep the relationship strong.


In a way, training can be the scapegoat and solution to a number of technical difficulties. Sure, you can train your users to jump through hoops, but should you? If we act as an advocate for our customer, we should come to an agreement and solution that provides the most efficient and streamlined process through our systems. Getting the customer and user community involved in the design and building of the system is a good way to get first hand feedback, early in the process. It is much more cost effective to modify a system during the design stage versus late in the development or even the delivery stages. Agile methods encourage prototyping and other forms of visual and interactive involvement.


For other tips on creating an exceptional experience for your customers, visit my article at:


~Ann Drinkwater





Not all comments are posted. Posted comments are subject to editing for clarity and length.

The comments to this entry are closed.

©Copyright 2000-2017 Emprend, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
About us   Site Map   View current sponsorship opportunities (PDF)
Contact us for more information or e-mail
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Stay Connected
Get our latest content delivered to your inbox, every other week. New case studies, articles, templates, online courses, and more. Check out our Newsletter Archive for past issues. Sign Up Now

Follow Us!
Linked In Facebook Twitter RSS Feeds

Got a Question?
Drop us an email or call us toll free:
7am-5pm Pacific
Monday - Friday
We'd love to talk to you.

Learn more about ProjectConnections and who writes our content. Want to learn more? Compare our membership levels.