Authored by John Shaw
I think most of us have heard of a shotgun wedding, but how many of you have heard of the shotgun approach to training?
No, it’s not when a manager marches their team to a
training course at gunpoint. Shotgun training describes a training
program where a diverse audience is placed into a room and they all are
trained on every possible skill they may need on a topic. You can
typically identify when a training program is taking a shotgun approach
because the following basic questions have not been answered and written
· Which students need which specific skills?
· When do they need to use the specific skills?
· What skills do they already have?
· How are skill development costs prioritized against the business’s needs?
In my experience, the shotgun approach is the default approach to
enterprise software implementation. The reasons are quite logical too:
· Software vendors need to develop training materials on all of
the features and functions of their tools. They are typically neatly
packaged courses that can be delivered by an experienced instructor with
little to no preparation. They cover the broadest and most common set
of customer needs.
· The Client’s business needs to move quickly, and project
managers are under tight timelines and controlled budgets. The prospect
of creating a customized training program brings up immediate images of
expensive development and extended timelines.
Add these two factors together and the easiest answer is to pull the
course off the shelf and train everyone. The vendor happily delivers
their standard training and the client trusts that the vendor’s generic
course has met their specific needs. Over the next couple of months
some of the following happens:
· Some students are successful in using the tool shortly after the training event.
· Others are overwhelmed by the amount of information that was covered and go back to the old process.
· Others simply forget because they were trained too soon and do not need to use the tool for months.
· Others call the support desk and essentially get retrained on the phone.
· Others rely heavily on their peers to get retrained.
Does this sound familiar to you? It’s not doomsday, the programme has
not failed, but it is a sub-optimal solution and project’s ROI has been
reduced. We can do better and its starts with the 4 questions.
In the next post in this series we’ll focus on a simple tool you can use
to answer the first two questions “Which Students Need What Skills” and
“When do they need each skill”