When should you deliver OSS training?

The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery.”
Plato

When do most OSS vendors/integrators deliver training to their customers? At the end of the project right?

When SHOULD the OSS vendors/integrators deliver training to their customers? At the start…. and then throughout the implementation… and then after they’ve finished.

Have you ever noticed that most vendors spend a great deal of time implementing an OSS and then giving a two-week course before handing over the keys of operations to their customer, the CSP? In your experience, does that two-week course ever adequately prepare the customer to operate the OSS?

In some cases it might suffice, especially when the new tool has a relatively small niche of the overall network operations. But in the instance of a comprehensive OSS roll-out, I believe the implementation team should invest in training their customers from the outset.

There are multiple reasons why, including but not limited to:

  1. An informed partner will better understand what data sets the system needs to operate correctly (and which they’ll be asked to help gather)
  2. It provides an opportunity for the customer to appreciate the complexities of what needs to be achieved
  3. It develops a sense of ownership and shared teamwork from the customer
  4. The customer can start to formulate ideas on how the OSS could be best configured to meet their needs (eg process flows)
  5. The knowledge gained helps to increase comprehension during all stages – from data collection through to UAT (User Acceptance Testing) and then on into operations and
  6. An informed customer will tend to feel more involved, more excited and more likely to act as a project champion on your behalf

OSS should be highly interactive projects between supplier and customer. Collaborative teams definitely produce the strongest outcomes. Without up-front training, the customer doesn’t tend to have enough peer-level knowledge to associate or collaborate fully with the supplier’s staff.

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2 thoughts on “When should you deliver OSS training?

  1. Hello Ryan,
    Interesting thought regarding training!
    If I might add a little of my own experience on the topic of “project training” . In a recent EOT (Establish, Operate & Transfer” Programs I have lead in ME, Europe and APAC, the “training” part suffered from a quite common problems. It has been difficult to get stakeholders to understand the root problem.

    {Training being the transference of Knowledge – Skills and Attitudes}

    1. The early in the transformation training programs were conducted a while prior to the Building and commissioning of the Technology. The Program slipped in schedule and those trained on the new technology did not get any actual exposure to it until over a year in most cases, by which time they had lost a lot of the knowledge, and had not yet developed any personal skills in the day to day operations for that technology set. Like the issues of Integration, the Transference suffers from a clear end to end view rather than all of the component parts as outcomes in their own right.

    2. The people to be trained are in most cases still working to maintain the current “Legacy” technologies, and any requirement to tack them off shift and them through training impacts current operations, and so the Team Leaders or Line Managers do not want to release them, and often won’t release them to the scheduled training courses. Many no shows for courses which then had to be rescheduled, with big impact on cost and training outcomes..

    3. Unless some kind of incentive is provided to the operational line managers, and some clear WIFM for the staff, this will act as a “drag” to any transformation, and a real negative impacts on overall operations, with a sometimes negative view of the new technology as it might seem to not deliver on promised savings and efficiencies in the short term.

    These can burn a lot of training resources for little measurable return, and create a negative view of the technology among line mangers and their staff, although for each of them it is for different reasons and perceptions.

    I like the idea shared of Pre – Trans – Post for training on new technology and/or process, the use of traditional classroom, operational simulation, OJT and floor walking by SME’s all work together to offer the best overall transformation from what are to what we need to be.

    Cheers
    Laurence

  2. Hi Laurence,

    You’re exactly right! The pre-trans-post approach is definitely the way to go. Providing a sand-pit for self-teaching along the way is also a great idea (if the CSP’s staff actually use it).

    A few earlier posts (eg http://passionateaboutoss.com/serving-an-apprenticeship) refer to training being an apprenticeship rather than just a course. But you’re right that ongoing operational objectives make it difficult for the CSP’s staff to find the time to do that apprenticeship. Often it comes down to the expectations of the CSP and whether they’re aware of the level of training that their new OSS will require.

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