When is Training NOT the Answer?

When is Training NOT the Answer?

A document management system should be frictionless in facilitating your law practice.

Adoption problems? Don’t assume it’s all “about the training.”  When a consultant or IT starts to blame a user’s lack of training,  it’s often a warning that the system is not accommodating that user’s way of working.  It should be possible to have it both ways – minimal retraining and also meeting the business needs with the software deployed.  Along the way, you balance the three aspects of project effort, user impact, and business value.

If something is not going according to plan, don’t jump to conclusions:

  • If three influential partners prefer to read their correspondence from a printed page, and dictate the reply, what’s gained by forcing them to do their own keyboard work instead?
  • A lawyer who for years has named most documents ‘deed’ or ‘agreement’  is un-likely to adopt a formal naming standard.

What I try to do, when designing a solution for a client, is ensure that the standard steps in the existing business process are leveraged, to help the system meet the business goals.

Here’s a real comment illustrating the problem (from  a linked in discussion if you want to chase it down). I’ve added the emphasis.

… Putting files into a document mgmt system incorrectly (several copies of the same document named just Agreement, Deed, etc.). What this means is you have to open each documnent and read it to ascertain what it is…  for these folks using a database is light years ahead of thier capability. **Training and getting people comfortable with technology (yes, even in 2010) is really the underlying problem.**

And that is where I vehemently disagree. Let the user continue with the names ‘Deed’ and ‘Agreement’: the solution design should leverage other established habits – such as filing content in folders – to add the metadata. As ‘Agreement’ is stored in the matter-centric ‘Agreements’ folder it is tagged with a client and matter, and with the author, operator, and last-edit-date.  Mission accomplished, with no need to train our attorney how to use a database.

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