C H A P T E R    8 Part 2  Deploying Microsoft Office Microsoft Office Resource Kit
Training and Support Programs for Microsoft Office Previous



In This Chapter
Implementing Office Training Tasks

This chapter helps you introduce Microsoft Office 97 for Windows and Office 98 for the Macintosh to users in your organization. It describes a general plan for implementing training and support programs, preparing documentation, and promoting Office throughout your organization. This information is intended primarily for information systems and training managers who are responsible for preparing users to switch or upgrade to Office.

See Also

Speer Software Training, Inc.

This chapter was written by Bonnie Speer McGrath, president of Speer Software Training, a national training company that specializes in helping organizations design and implement instructor­led training programs to support software transition and upgrades to Office. Established in 1986, Speer Software Training today has more than 300 trainers located in many cities around the country, including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. For more information about Speer Software Training, call (612) 996­0015, or point your Web browser to: http://www.speer.com/



A well­planned training and support program, including promotion of Office and documentation, will help your organization get the most out of Office. This is true whether you are switching from a competitive product or upgrading from an earlier version of Office. This chapter focuses on migration training, or preparing users for the switch to Office.

Budgeting for Training and Support

Consider carefully the cost of migration training, support, promotion, and documentation. Many organizations commit 10 percent to 20 percent of their Office budget to preparing users for the transition, helping them learn the new software, and customizing documentation. Your investment in training helps users master the many features of Office quickly and minimizes disruptions in your organization.

Designing a Migration Training Program

Although deploying Office is a one­time event, learning Office is an ongoing process. The first priority of the migration training program is to prepare users to start using Office. However, you may also want to design a migration training program for any or all of the following situations:


Implementing Office Training Tasks

The following table lists the critical training tasks for implementing Office. Based on the deployment plan in Chapter 3, "Deployment Guide for Microsoft Office," this table assumes that your Office deployment begins in week 14.

Assemble the Training and Support Teams

The training team includes a project manager as well as trainers who deliver training and desk­side support. You may also consider including writers and editors to prepare documentation and manage promotion of Office.

The support team includes expert users to deliver telephone support from the help desk. It may also include users who provide informal support, such as word­processing operators or selected power users.

The training and support teams may include internal or external resources. The makeup of the training and support teams depends on the services you plan to offer, the rollout schedule, and the strength and size of your internal staff.

Identifying Internal Training and Support Resources

Use your internal training staff and help desk staff as much as possible during the rollout of Office. These groups are your most effective long-term providers of information, training, and support for Office. If their current jobs prevent them from participating directly in the rollout, keep them up to date about the project and make sure that they are prepared to support Office after the transition to Office. Your training staff and support staff have direct contact with users; they can also help you promote Office and the training plan.

Identifying External Training and Support Resources

Many organizations work with an outside training company — a training partner — to shorten the rollout process or provide services that are not available internally. Finding the right training partner can be time consuming, but it is worth the effort to find the company that best fits your needs.

Look for these characteristics in a training partner:

If you engage an outside training company, make sure that your internal trainers and support staff have a clear understanding of their roles before, during, and after the rollout.

Many training companies support Microsoft products, giving your organization a variety of choices. For information about authorized training companies that support Office, call (800) SOLPROV. For information about other training and support resources, see Appendix E, "Other Support Resources."

Prepare the Training and Support Teams

Before the rollout, your internal training and support teams must learn Office. A special training program dedicated to building their Office skills prepares them to contribute from the beginning of the planning phases for the transition to the end of implementation.

To get the training and support teams started, provide access to the software so they can explore on their own. This is an effective way to get started, particularly if your training and support teams are already using an earlier version of Office. If you are not using Windows, however, you should adopt a more structured mode of learning.

When your staff is ready for more structured training, consider self­paced options, such as videos or computer­based training, to build basic skills. Use instructor­led training to build in­depth and job­specific skills.

Task Team Start Week Average Duration
Assemble the training and support teams Planning Week 1 – 2 10 days
Prepare the training and support teams Training and support Week 3 – 4 Varies depending on software and existing expertise
Develop the training plan Planning, training, support, and installation Week 5 – 6 10 days
Prepare the documentation Training Week 7 – 10 20 days
Schedule training for the pilot rollout group Training Week 8 5 days
Promote Office and the training plan Planning and training Week 9 – 13 Varies depending on your plans for promoting Office
Test the training plan during the pilot rollout Installation, training, and support Week 14 20 days
Measure your success Training and support ongoing process
Implement the training plan during the rollout of Office Installation and training Usually 4 or more weeks after the pilot rollout Varies depending on size of organization

Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here

Microsoft Press publishes a multimedia, computer­based training product called Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here. Users view a video introduction for each lesson, practice using the actual Office 97 product, and then take a quiz to test their new skills. This course is available wherever computer books are sold. For more information about Microsoft Press, see Appendix E, "Other Support Resources."

After completing training, members of the training and support teams should use Office to do all of their work. You can broaden their appreciation of Office by having them test templates, macros, software integration, file conversion, and cleanup procedures before you release these to the pilot group.

If you hire an external training company, their trainers already know Office. However, they need to become familiar with your current software and learn how your organization plans to use Office. Many training companies find an orientation meeting helpful to learn this type of information. An orientation meeting is also a good way to build the critically important rapport between internal and external trainers.

Develop the Training Plan

With the training and support teams educated about the capabilities of Office, the next step is for the teams to prepare the training plan. The purpose of this plan is to identify learning needs and to state the methods you will use for training, support, documentation, and promoting Office. The plan should also identify who is responsible for each task and the related costs. For more information about collecting information and building consensus, see "Organization-wide Input for the Training Plan," later in this chapter.

The planning, training, and support teams collaborate to prepare the training plan. To ensure consistency, however, the plan is written by one individual. This person is usually the training director or your training partner's project manager. Once the plan is accepted — usually by the planning team — you can use the plan to generate enthusiasm at different levels in your organization.

Contents of the Training Plan

Preparing the training plan requires 40 to 120 hours, depending on its detail and the number of interviews and surveys conducted. The training plan should include the following:

Executive Summary

An executive summary provides an overview of your plans for promoting Office, preparing documentation, delivering training, and providing support to key managers, users, and members of the project team. You should include estimates for all associated costs related to project planning, documentation, promotion, training, and support.

Audience Objectives

Your plan should include a description of each audience, organized by department and location. Each description includes audience size, job function, experience level with related software, and experience level with the new software. Specify learning objectives for each audience with each new software application.

Team Member Responsibilities

You plan should include a description of the roles and responsibilities of the training and support teams and of the individual team members in each department.

Include a delineation of responsibilities between your internal and external resources. Roles and responsibilities during the rollout of Office include designing, developing, editing, and piloting your courseware and training programs; training trainers and support staff; scheduling students for classes; duplicating and distributing materials; setting up classrooms; delivering training for end users; delivering desk­side support; delivering help desk support; managing training; and managing support.

Communication Plan

You should develop a plan for communication among all teams before and during the pilot and rollout in each department (for example, assign each team a group e­mail address and schedule weekly status meetings).

Document how help desk and desk­side support calls are recorded and how issues are tracked and handled until they are resolved. List key contacts responsible for hardware, software, and training. Communication among the installation, training, and support teams is critical for a smooth pilot and rollout. The installation team needs to receive suggestions about the system. The training and support teams benefit from information about system updates. The training team needs to know about frequently asked questions so they can be answered in training. Keeping this three­way communication flowing is critical. It can be accomplished through Microsoft Outlook, using e­mail and discussion groups.

Departmental Plans

Design a plan for each department that lists training tasks, resource needs, and key delivery dates.

Be as explicit as possible. You may need resources to schedule training, distribute materials, provide Office demonstrations, prepare newsletters, deliver training, and deliver support. You may also require additional resources to set up equipment, classrooms, telephone lines, and demonstration monitors. This plan is most effectively created in Microsoft Project and integrated into the overall project plan.

Training Programs

Recommend a training program for each audience. Include what you plan to offer in the following areas:

Note   For a sample training program, see "Sample Training Program" later in this chapter.

Organization­wide Input for the Training Plan

You can use the process of creating a training plan to generate enthusiasm for Office and build consensus for the project. To collect information for the plan, conduct surveys and interviews with key personnel in management, information systems, and training, and with typical end users. Listed below are sample questions you might ask each of these groups. These questions are not intended to be exhaustive, but to get you started in this process.


Ask managers questions like these:

Information Systems

Ask information systems personnel questions like these:

Internal Trainers and Help Desk Staff

Ask internal trainers and help desk staff questions like these:

Typical End Users

Ask end users questions like these:

Sample Training Program

Having identified the learning objectives for each audience, you are ready to design the training programs. Each audience­specific training program documents each audience's needs for training, support, documentation, and promotion of Office.

The remainder of this section shows what might be included in the training program for secretaries who are upgrading from an earlier version of Office.

Several Weeks Before the Rollout

Several weeks before the secretaries' rollout, the training program focuses on promoting Office organization­wide. For example, it could specify the following activities:

First Week of Secretaries' Rollout

In the first week of the Office rollout for the secretaries, the training program includes promoting Office and providing documentation and training. For example, it could specify the following activities:

Second and Third Weeks of Secretaries' Rollout

In the second week of the Office rollout for the secretaries, the training program focuses on training and documentation, but also includes promoting Office and providing support. For example, it could specify the following activities:

After the Rollout

After the Office rollout for the secretaries, the training program emphasizes support, but also includes training and documentation. For example, it could specify the following activities:

Prepare the Documentation

The training plan describes the type of documentation needed for promoting Office and training. Documentation may be different for each audience. It may be purchased from a third party, used as is, modified, or written from scratch. Documentation that reflects your software, policies, and procedures is relevant to users and helps them learn more quickly.

Preparing training and reference documentation — such as reference guides, hands­on practice, quick reference cards, and instructor notes — can require days, weeks, or months. The phases involved include design, development, writing, editing, testing during the pilot rollout, and revisions after the pilot. Documentation­related tasks are performed by your training partner or your internal trainers.

If you decide to use a training partner, be aware that courseware is a collaborative effort that requires internal resources. If you opt to create materials in­house, it is useful to license existing materials and then modify them for your organization. Many types of Office courseware are available, and some companies offer industry­specific courseware. Speer Software Training, for example, offers Office courseware specific to the legal industry.

To make documentation relevant to users, you can customize it by including information about your system, templates, macros, software integration, e­mail etiquette, and offline procedures. Also include hands­on practice exercises and policies and procedures that are specific to your organization, such as converting files.

Schedule the Pilot Training

Select the participants for the pilot rollout based on their willingness and ability to use Office immediately following training. Also look for people who are positive, open to change, and persuasive in your organization.

Scheduling classroom time and self­paced training can complex. Schedule all training six or more weeks in advance, so that users can plan ahead. Also schedule any self­paced training so that users complete all requirements in a timely fashion. Classes of six similarly­skilled students are ideal for instructor­led classes.

Promote Office and the Training Plan

Promoting Office prepares users for the rollout. It helps them understand why Office was selected and lets them know how they will benefit. It addresses concerns such as "How long it will take me to learn, and how will my files convert?"

How creative you want to be with promoting Office depends on the culture of your organization and your budget. Promoting Office usually starts soon after selecting Office and continues before and during the transition to Office. Usually the planning team or the training team is responsible for promoting Office, but it can be done by other groups.

Here are some ideas for promoting Office and the training plan:

Test the Training Plan During the Pilot Rollout

When you are ready to test the training plan, have pilot rollout participants test every aspect of it, including promotion of Office, training, documentation, and support. They should also test the plans for communication among the installation, training, and support teams.

Prepare questions to be answered during the pilot rollout, such as:

Select a pilot rollout group that is enthusiastic about Office, willing to provide constructive feedback, and able to start using Office immediately after their training. Inform the pilot group that you expect feedback in the areas of promotion of Office, documentation, training, and support. Consider techniques for encouraging feedback, such as giving free entertainment software for home use and a vacation day to the three people who provide the most suggestions used in the rollout.

Measure Your Success

One of the best ways to gauge success in your transition to Office is to observe people in your organization. Are employees using Office effectively in their jobs? Are they asking thoughtful questions? Are they finding answers by using resources you have provided?

Based on the feedback from your trainers, support staff, and pilot rollout participants, adjust the documentation and promotion of Office and the training and support plans. Review communication among all teams involved in the pilot rollout, and make adjustments for the rollout. Finally, update all members of the training and support teams, so they are ready for the rollout.

Implement the Training Plan During the Office Rollout

Four or more weeks after you run the pilot rollout, the rollout of Office begins. The rollout may take weeks, months, or years, depending on the size of your organization. Ease into the rollout by starting gradually with the training and support programs.

For example, if you plan to use four classrooms during the rollout, start with one classroom and gradually increase to four classrooms over the next eight weeks. This gradual ramp­up period allows the installation, training, and support teams to further prepare to support many new users of Office. Ramping up gradually also allows you time to respond and to modify the system and training plan as needed. If the rollout is longer than three months, schedule two­week breaks between groups, so that the installation, training, and support teams remain fresh.

If your organization is undertaking a big change, such as a transition from WordPerfect or Lotus SmartSuite, be prepared for resistance among users. The training and support teams need to keep morale high and help users build confidence in mastering the new tools. They also must help users and managers develop realistic expectations regarding the learning curve during the transition.

It is a good idea to review all migration training plans four weeks into the rollout and to finalize the training plans in light of what you learn along the way. Be flexible and recognize that new developments may require revising the training plan as well as notifying those users who have already been trained. Such modifications, although not desirable, are in the best interest of a successful transition to Office.

After your organization gets started using Office, you can begin planning the ongoing training program. It is likely that your internal resources can create and manage this program, based on their experiences during the transition. The migration training program, combined with the ongoing training program, is an excellent way to get the most out of your investment in Office.

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