How to Design Software Implementation Training

By Jasmine Salazar and Laura Page

New software implementation comes with a host of challenges. Without a solid change management strategy, organizations can fail to fully realize the benefits of large-scale software initiatives, and a lack of training can be a major setback in recovering the cost of implementation. Unfortunately, off-the-shelf vendor training packages don’t always align with your company’s business model, and customization can be expensive.

Using change management principles, you can create a comprehensive training plan that gets the most out of your software implementation before go-live. The following are tips to help you successfully maximize your resources.

Download our implementation checklist to successfully plan and implement change for your team.

1. Involve training and communication throughout the project lifecycle.

For best adoption results, involve teams at the beginning of the project lifecycle. Inviting teams to identify impacts and gaps allows you to proactively collect their feedback and expectations about change in real-time. Knowing what challenges await in implementation is critical to understand before conducting your training needs analysis.

2. Align training with your culture.

Training initiatives are far more sustainable when they connect to the culture and communication styles of individual teams.  When considering your software training needs, personalize your approach based your team’s preferences, technical knowledge, and current delivery options. Remember, the goal is to prepare your team for the first day of go-live, which means training must go beyond system features to connect employees to the new way they will work individually and as a team.

3. Don’t reinvent the wheel. 

Assess how much of the software you are customizing and what training is provided off-the-shelf from the vendor. Inevitably, there will be gaps in the vendor training, such as company policies and procedures as well as any customization you plan to do. Different system roles will have varying levels of access to the same features, and how your team uses those features in their day-to-day will vary. Take the time to define all your audiences by role, seniority level, and skill level. Design training around those roles and focus on creating performance support materials, like job aids, checklists, and learning portals.

4. Define behavioral objectives by audience.

Start by reviewing your implementation objectives to determine the needed behavioral objectives by audience. Then confirm if any existing KPIs or metrics (HR Information System HRIS, ticketing system, Learning Management System LMS, etc.) measure your desired outcomes. Don’t forget to research what KPIs and metrics will be available after the software implementation and create a plan for how the data will be captured, including how often and who will be responsible. If your training does not connect desired outcomes to behaviors, consider modifying, enhancing, or removing training content to meet your objectives. You can determine the ROI of your implementation based on new or existing performance metrics (KPIs) to model the path to success.