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Painless New Software & Work Procedure Adoption – How I did It!

MindigoBox was created to fill my cofounder and my needs at work. Sina is the director of architecture at an ERP software company, working with the software development teams, and I run a service-based business with a physical store, with a remote support team.

Sina and I use MindigoBox differently since our teams are set up differently. I will go into detail about my business’s story, and how we use it at work to adopt new software and work procedures.

My Service Based Physical Business

I run a fitness center. We use a customer centric sales process and we are known for our high level of customer service.

In order to provide high level of service, we use a lot of software. For operations, sales, customer service, finance, marketing, pretty much everything. Having the entire team working effectively across the different software is critical.

An added benefit is that we are able to use the software to track and generate many metrics to help us measure our business performance over time.

My Software Implementation Challenges

There are 2 main challenges we face:

  1. Getting everyone to do the same thing across the different software (standard procedures)
  2. Over time as the business grows, we upgrade to different software or change and create new setups within our existing software (training people on new things)

These are further complicated by the way my business work and hire:

  1. Not everyone is working with all of the software all of the time
  2. Some workflows occur at lower frequency, like there are certain sales procedures we only perform once a month, so people often forget
  3. Also, different people are on-boarded at different times, so the workflow they get trained during onboarding can be quite different.

With software it’s so important that everyone does it correctly, or else customers might not get the right billing, request tickets will go unanswered, and it becomes impossible to use the software to track performance metrics.

The General Approach to Solve My Problem

Since I have a background in adult education (and with much trial and error), I can tell you that key to successful software adoption is education, or what is better known as ‘workplace training’.

What I found was what works best for software adoption and change management is when everyone has instant access to the various software procedures in an easy to follow format. With this training and documentation infrastructure in place, we were able to reduce, and in some cases eliminate, mistakes. We can now roll out new procedures and software without much problem. It has become painless compared to before.

Even with my adult education background, I did not arrive at this system right away. It took over a year worth of iterations find a successful workplace training system that is suitable for today’s fast paced business environment.

Work Training Challenges I faced

At first, I ran in-person group classes going over the procedures with my team. Classroom learning is the oldest trick in the book. There are places where it works well, but I found that for software, this didn’t give me the result I was looking for. Most of the people on my team didn’t implement the right software procedures and this was problematic.

Not following the correct procedures also had nothing to do with how familiar people were with our business. Some were new hires, and some had been around for a while.

The Real Underlying Problems

What I realized was that people learn different things at different pace, and for certain people learning new software can be very scary. What often happens is that they are too afraid to ask people to explain the same thing to them over and over again. They’re afraid that they’ll look dumb or that they will bother people. This is especially true if the individual has been working for a while.

Even when people do ask, the people with the answers don’t always have the time and energy to deliver an teaching experience that will lead to long term learning.

My Solution & Problem with Existing Learning Technology

I wanted to create something where people can look up documentation and learn at their own pace and review as needed. This would be especially useful when they forget small part of the procedure within a long workflow. My alternative motive was that I would get a lot less calls and messages about so very small software things (Nancy.. how do I find that customer’s order from last May?)

When we started creating it with the existing technologies we soon realize what’s most of them were text based, and text + screen shot is a very inefficient way to learn and teach software. Every time there’s new software or a software procedure, we end up having a large volume of documentation.

At first, we used Word, and then we used Google Doc. But, both sucked… The text-based documentation was taking so long to create it usually requires a person working on it full-time for a week, or multiple people in some cases.

The worst is when the new setup doesn’t quite work out and we have to change it. It takes so much time to update that no one wanted to do it, so it didn’t get updated very frequently and what we ended up with is very outdated “manuals” that basically need to be recreated once every few months.

Best Practice to Document software workflow

A much better way to document new workflow and data entry is by screen record videos. Your trainee gets to see exactly what it should look like, where you should be clicking, what settings to use. I can talk and walk through exactly what I’m doing, things to watch out for when using the software. And each workflow only takes 5 to 10 mins to record.

This worked so well that even some of my remote team members who don’t speak English very well can emulate and learn some particularly complex data entry and excel computation.

Problem with Video Documentation

At first we begin uploading these videos onto Vimeo and YouTube. Organization quickly became an issue.

Then I started looking at LMS (Learning Management System/Software), but these software are typically course based, where you need to predefine a syllabus and curriculum. These are words associated with school, and not so much adult learning and work training.

Also, it’s hard to know how you actually want to structure a course about your new software in advance. Most large companies create the procedures, and work on it on until it’s been perfected, and then have a learning specialist come in to create the learning material, documentation, training material, and finally form a course around it. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it’s slow and impedes the teams’ ability to adopt the software.

To get the training efficiency I was looking for, creating the material while adopting the software is really the only way.

What MindigoBox Does

What we have done with MindigoBox is create a platform where you can upload videos, PDF, PowerPoint, Word documents, as well as create documentation on the platform itself and then organize the information later.

This can be done in the flexible manner by using tags. You can also search for information.

There will also be a course feature where you can determine what order the videos or learning materials need to be. This is useful for new hires or when there is a department transfer.

My Result

So far my personal result of using MindigoBox software has been great! We are able to onboard people faster, pretty much eliminate data entry and workflow mistakes, and reduce the time people take to learn new workflow and new setups with an any of our software.

Let Me Know!

As with all my business, I believe in a collaborative creation process. Sina and I want this to become software that evolves with people’s problems and needs.

If you would like early access to the software, or have any comments, feedback, suggestions, specific use case and challenges you would like me to know, feel free to reach out to me by email, text, on Twitter or give us a call.

Till next when I have more useful information to share.

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