How Great Microsoft Dynamics GP Trainers Do It: Seven Proven Tips for Effective User Training

December 16 2010

The following article is adapted from Victoria Yudin's new book Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Implementation.

Once your Microsoft Dynamics GP system is installed, configured, and populated with master records and initial data, what's next?

Most likely you have already started training users.  Here I'd like to discuss some ideas for planning how to train users and who should be performing the training.  I'll follow up in a future article with some thoughts on the type of training that is right for different audiences. 

There are many different training methods and users may respond differently to training, depending on their level of comfort with technology and accounting, as well as their prior experience with similar applications.

This is by no means a complete guide to leading training, however, having trained many users over the years there are a few concepts that have proven true time and time again:

  • Make sure you have a trainer that knows their stuff. Nothing can be worse than being trained from a script with no ability to have a meaningful discussion. If the trainer has textbook knowledge of a system, but no real life experience with it, they will not have as much knowledge to share, which could result in incomplete training and lost credibility with the users. If you do not have someone on your team that is a good training resource for Dynamics GP, bring a trainer in.
  • If you are bringing a training resource in from outside your team, help them by explaining what the company does, what Dynamics GP modules will be used, and the basics of the setup that has been performed. With this knowledge, the trainer will be better equipped to train your users.
  • Focus the training on the functionality that will be used. For example, if Purchase Order Approvals are not being used, it can certainly be mentioned that this functionality is available, but why spend time on it? Most likely, if it is implemented six months later, retraining will be required.
  • Set up a training schedule that is reasonable. Some companies may be able to close an accounting department for a whole week to perform training for all users of the new system. Given today's busy working environments, this is often not a realistic option. Keep training sessions to about three hours. This will typically be the most users can absorb at one time. It will also give the company's employees an opportunity to get some of their regular work done on training days.
  • Keep the number of users in a training session to no more than four or five, anything else can get unruly very quickly. If there are many users than need to be trained on the same functionality, hold two or more sessions for the same topic.
  • Make the system available to users during training if at all possible. If Dynamics GP is already installed and the sample or test company is set up, give the users access to log in during or after training to experiment with what they have just learned.
  • Some companies like the idea of training the trainer - taking a more advanced user who will be using most of the Dynamics GP functionality and training them, so they can train the rest of the users. While this may be a cost saving option in the short term, this can easily become similar to the broken telephone game and is not something that we recommend for most companies.

 

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About Victoria Yudin

Victoria has been designing, implementing, integrating, and customizing business management and accounting systems for over 20 years. She has been a user of Microsoft Dynamics GP (and its Great Plains Software predecessor) since it was available on DOS and has been a Dynamics GP consultant for almost 15 years. Victoria has the distinction of being the only person in the world named a Microsoft Dynamics GP Most Valuable Professional (MVP) each consecutive year since 2005. Victoria has an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and has numerous certifications for Microsoft Dynamics GP and related technologies.

In November 2000, Victoria started Flexible Solutions, Inc. to bring together her experience in accounting and business with her love for technology. Flexible Solutions is a Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner, offering the GP Reports Viewer add-on for Dynamics GP, as well as Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation, reporting, and support services.

In September 2008, Victoria started her blog, called Ramblings and musings of a Dynamics GP MVP to share her experiences and thoughts with the Dynamics GP community.  Victoria is the author of the book Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Implementation and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Implementation.

More about Victoria Yudin