Installing a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Training Plan that Works

Marvin Harris
Dec 3, 2021
3 min read

Training is one of those tricky elements that is often overlooked but crucial in getting to the finish line of a project. This is the first opportunity for the wider user community to appreciate the value of the changes the internal and external project team made. If your improvements are not embraced by end users everything done previously is for not. So it is your job to focus on 3 key pillars in the training phase; planning, delivery and feedback. Put yourself on the other side of the table think from the perspective of your audience and the leadership. The core goal is to prove the solution you created addressed a problem for your organization. The only way you truly know is introducing the solution to end users and allowing them to interact and make judgements about said solution.

If you answer the question "How does this help us" you are well on your way to success. There are always those outliers who are resistant to any change and complain about every single element that is different from what they are comfortable with. Those individuals will require more handholding than the core audience members.

Let's walk through each phase and discuss the important activities you should consider when developing your plan.

 1. Planning - During this stage time should be spent focused on determining who interacts with the system, why and how they will use it, administrative activities such as location, delivery methods, your value proposition to the user, etc. Have you thought about a communication strategy? Figuring out your approaches to delivery.  Will you structure the training around a work flow process, general functionality, etc.? Think about that and form an approach that works best for your organizational needs.

2. Delivery- What's crucial here is to make sure you consider what you want the users to do so they become comfortable with the new process or system. What do you want them to walk alway knowing that they did not know before attending class? How will you support them after the training they will not become experts overnight? Who will be the SME's or champions within each internal group and how will these individuals be involved in the process. Think about not overwhelming yet giving them tools to get starting adopting the changes you are attempting to implement. Make sure people understand the "why we are doing xyz" as much as what they are doing.

3. Feedback - Improvement is constant and for us to become better we must have a mechanism in place for people to give us an assessment of where we are now. Think about that for your training, what do you want to learn and how can you capture it in a way that will help you be successful going forward. Ask the right questions in the right way. I recommend someone take ownership of this process and designate time in advance so both the technical and functional components are addressed. Hopefully you glean valuable insight that you may have missed during your testing. Make sure the inputs are received and discussed. There are always people who complain for complaining's sake. I do not want you to focus on the person who is complaining the coffee was 1 degree too hot! Focus on information around value, improving your solution and tangible items that will prevent you from being successful.

I would recommend embracing this process with the same vigor and energy as you did everything that proceeded it. Do not treat it as a necessary exercise that you must get through and focus on learning instead of  document creation.

So many people spend time creating massive documents that no one will ever read. Rather frame the material around the value and deliver the information with that focus in mind. Remember people are visual learners and  if you remove that from the process you are missing the point.

If people leave your session feeling the solution has failed to add value for them or resolved a pain point in their day-to-day job your project is not where it needs to be. The users of the solution are the one's who you are handing the project off to and without their backing whatever you are attempting to accomplish will be for not.

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