How to Adopt RTC EE - Part 2 "Training"
A few weeks ago I wrote a short post about some of the technological aspects of an RTC EE adoption. While it gave a good overview of the different steps required, it left out the single most important piece - training. During a call last week I heard a fantastic analogy from my friend Kenny Smith of Strongback Consulting. It went something like this: If you look inside the cockpit of a commercial airliner, you'll see hundreds of different controls. Nobody in their right mind would let a person attempt to fly a plane without first going through extensive training. Now you may not realize it, but RTC and RDz also have hundreds of controls. Does it not stand to reason that we should require proper training before setting a developer off in a fancy new IDE?
The answer is both obvious and clear, but let's take the analogy a step further as we examine our client successes. If an airline has a pilot with experience flying a 737, will said airline allow that pilot to hop into the cockpit of a 757 without first spending countless hours in a simulator? Absolutely not. It is imperative that your training mimics as close to real life production as possible. This is how we've converted countless co-pilots to captains.
- Start by preparing a mirror image of the future production environment in a sandbox (this can be done fairly quickly with the proper technology).
- Conduct a live session consisting of a quick-start, either in person or through a virtual webinar. Show results in the first minute. Walk your trainees through a day in the life, leaving out all the bells and whistles.
- Distribute training materials that contain click-for-click instructions for how to perform the day in the life from step 2.
- Identify those in the group that believe what we believe. These are the mentors of the group, they'll solve problems on their own through their own persistence and will quickly become go-to support within the team. Without a champion, the team will struggle.
- Repeat, replacing a "day in the life" with each subsequent topic. Eventually the mentors from step 4 will replace the need for step 2, leaving you with a self-sustaining ecosystem of rapid innovation.