As part of your role as a web developer there comes a time in a project when all the hard work has been completed and the project is ready to be handed over. For a successful handover, the client requires successful training. Here at NVisage we pride ourselves with good communication and client training. If you are looking for specific training such as in the Ektron CMS then please contact us.
I have had many years of experience in this and follow a set of steps which I have devised over the years also implementing techniques I gained from the military:
• Make sure you fully understand the product you are handing over
• Make sure the product is fully functional - this should have already passed developer testing at least by this stage
• Choose an appropriate training environment that suits the client
• Write a training plan
• Use clear communication techniques
• Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS)
• Use effective methods of instruction
• Provide documentation
Write a training plan
Probably the most important step. It's imperative to have some sort of a plan as this will add structure to the training session. A good plan will outline any preliminaries, a good brief of what the training session will include and the objectives.
The preliminaries will include an introduction of yourself, additional requirements such as notepad and pen, internet enabled computer etc. It's also a good opportunity gauge the level of competency of the client, this will give you an idea of how you should proceed.
The brief will inform the client of what the training session will entail, how long it's intended to last and how you are going to run the show.
The training should be broken down into objectives; each objective could represent a module or step in using\administering the product. Breaking the training down into manageable objectives makes it easier for the client to digest and absorb. Too much information will cause 'information overload' and the client will end up getting confused or will simply switch-off.
Where should you train?
Choose an appropriate training environment that suits the client.
Ask the client what type of training they would prefer, this generally falls into the two following categories and each have their pros and cons:
- Face to Face
Onsite of offsite, at their office or at yours
Great if the client is within a commutable distance.
If the training is happening at their office, make sure they have everything you need to carry out the training effectively.
It's normally the preferred options as the training is more personal and hands-on, it also easier to keep the clients focus and attention.
- Remote training
Great if the client isn't within a commutable distance.
Use meeting software so you are able to give visual as well as vocal training, for example http://www.eblvd.com/ or http://www.teamviewer.com.
Use clear communication techniques
This is important and sometimes difficult to master if you are a Techy (like me). Training is more effective if it is given using clean, clear and simple to understand language. So try to use layman's terms for anything technical and brush-up on your English. Other ways of improving you communication skills are as follows:
Body Language (Applicable to Face-to-Face training)
• Making eye contact.
• Nodding occasionally to acknowledge a strong point.
• Not displaying nervous ticks such as wringing hands, picking at your nails, or anything that the person communicating with you will view as a distraction from their conversation.
• Standing with hands clasped in front of you, never crossing your arms.
Speech and Attentiveness
Try to be clear and concise. Speak directly and do not waste time with long drawn out stories that will cause your listener's mind to wander. Always confirm that they understand, and be willing to further explain any of your points.
Great communicators practice the ability of consistent communication by remaining available. Practice open and honest communication with those who may depend on you. Be available and bold with tact.
During your communications always give your clients time to communicate their questions. Remaining focused on what they are trying to communicate will show them that you are indeed open to assisting with their questions.
After covering each objective it's important to ask if there are any questions to make sure the client has fully understood the training you have just given them.
Finally, it's important to provide some form of documentation to back-up the training you have just given. Documentation will vary depending on the size of the project and client's needs. Make sure that the documentation you do provide is simple and easy to understand and in my experience the more annotated screenshot you can provide the better.
Remember that practice makes perfect!