I’ve been a project manager for about seven years now (almost two of that at Pronovix), and it’s still a great experience to personally meet and collaborate with clients. In this blog post I would like to report about a user training I held in Oxford as the final step of a huge 1.5 years project. Scoping, negotiation, writing proposals, contracting, organizing development, quality assurance, in one term: project management. Drupal has always been one of my favorite platforms since it offers a fast learning curve for even non-technical dudes like me. Starting from scratch, scoping with trust, building with confidence, testing with care and handing over with heart. That's what it looks like from my perspective.
At the very end of last year we arrived at a major checkpoint with one of our key clients, Saïd Business School. We delivered 4 huge sites during this 1.5 years term, with a public facing website as the final milestone. It was a long and adventurous journey through the fields and woods of continuous integration, responsive design, content synchronization, adaptive content architecture, content publishing workflow and UX enhancements, just to mention a few of the most challenging aspects of a site building project. Now we arrived at the point of the final deliverable: user training.
For this I was invited to Oxford to hold a two-day training session for site administrators. The school was looking forward to this session with great expectations. Even though we handed over a nearly finished user guide, they had loads of questions and uncertainties, stemming from the complexity of their new content management system. This all made sense after all, a system this big needs a guide to walk the users hand in hand through all the dark corners and shady nooks, giving them more confidence to use or even to avoid certain features of the system.
I pulled my thoughts together, and asked the client some questions to discover how they are planning to use the system. This way I could lead them through the guiding principles, building blocks, best practices and most important configuration options of their website. I wrote a guideline to map my way through the various topics, that we later used as a collaboration tool to log questions and answers, or further enquiries that I couldn't answer from the top of my head there. All in all the two-day session went really well, the client was an awesome host. They turned out to be really good students in my off-hand school, and we could find the common voice much easier than before, while talking over Skype, or poor quality conference calls. I left Oxford with a peace of mind that this time I could deliver something valuable all by myself, without the help of the dedicated development team. The client was also satisfied with the training and handover: now they can confidently and productively use their new content management system.