Are you Rightsizing Your Training?

In this blog, ITSM Zone’s founder Claire Agutter talks about the different types of training, and how picking the right course at the right time can help you to get the best return on a training investment.

Why do organizations invest in training?

I’ve been working with a business coach recently and one of the questions he asked me was, “why do people buy your courses?”

Initially, this seemed like a simple question – our eLearning is economical, effective, avoids travel costs and time out of the office, flexible….

“That’s good”, said my coach, “but why do they buy the courses?”

I found myself strangely speechless. I know the value of the courses we sell, but why were our customers buying the courses? Was it for the new concepts? To learn how to do their job? To get a qualification? There’s a cynical attitude to training that says it’s all about getting certificates, but I truly believe there is much more to it.

If in doubt, ask!

I went to my network on social media to ask people what they were buying when they bought training. I got a huge range of responses (thank you to everyone who took the time to reply) including:

  • Clarity about concepts
  • Confidence to apply concepts
  • A better me
  • Transferable and beneficial knowledge
  • Personal development
  • Context
  • New thinking
  • Ability to contribute
  • Increased efficiency
  • Accredited skills
  • Path to mastery
  • Inspiration

What were the strongest messages?

Looking across all of the responses, they seem to fall into two broad categories:

  • Improvements for the present – allowing people to do their job better, to use best practices, and to apply proven concepts
  • Improvements for the future – getting inspiration for ways people can change how they work, through innovation and cutting edge ways of working. Having staff who come back to the office keen to try something new

Rightsize - pick the right types of course, at the right time

This led me to consider that when organizations purchase training, they need to look at how they give their people the right support at the right time in their careers. When starting out in the world of work, best practice focused training courses will be more suitable. Getting recognizable certifications that teach proven practices can help people to get an interview, get a job, and get working productively more quickly when they start that job. Think about, for example, having an appreciation of the concepts of incident management from someone starting a role on a help desk.

As people mature in their careers, they can build on best practice foundations and start to look at new ways of working and improvements to what they do every day. For example, think about introducing the concept of swarming to your help desk and your colleagues. Innovative courses can inspire people to improve, and break through the ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’ thinking that is prevalent in so many work places.

Looking across the ITSM Zone portfolio, where do each of our courses fit in this division between best practice and innovation and inspiration? I’ve put my thoughts below, and I’d love to hear what you think.

Best practice courses

I’ve categorized these courses as ‘best practice’ because they are widely adopted ways of working. For our typical customers who are buying training for people in IT or IT service management roles, many of the concepts covered in the training will be concepts they already have some exposure to in their workplace. These courses help them to cement their knowledge, understand what they do and why, and get a recognized certification.

  • ITIL version 3 – covers the basics of service management and the processes and procedures used by thousands of organizations around the world
  • ISO20000 – covers the basics of service management from a management system perspective, most of the processes referenced will be very familiar
  • COBIT 5 – looks at governance in the IT organization
  • SIAM – covers service management in a multi-supplier environment (read more in this free publication) and is widely adopted in both public and private sectors
  • Business Analysis – offers tools and techniques to help IT deliver products and services that meet business needs. Take a free introductory course here
  • RESILIA – covers key cyber security concepts

Innovation and inspiration courses

I’ve categorized these courses as ‘innovation and inspiration’ because they are less widely adopted and require a big change in thinking for some organizations. DevOps and Agile are completely natural to some companies who will wonder why they appear here – this is based on my experience with many larger organizations who are still coming to terms with the move from waterfall projects and struggling to increase their flow of work.

  • Business Relationship Management – BRM itself is not a new concept, but the tools and techniques pioneered by the BRM Institute are taking BRM to a whole new level. Some of our most challenging and rewarding courses to study, these will change how people look at their role in the organization and the value they deliver
  • VeriSM – looking at service management for the digital age, VeriSM will help organizations adapt to newer ways of working, including using the VeriSM management mesh to identify where old and new ways of working need to unite. Take a free introductory course here
  • OBASHI – where is your data? An essential question but one that’s often poorly understood. OBASHI helps organizations map their dataflows, the lifeblood of their business
  • DevOps – how do we improve relationships between dev and ops? How do we take the fear out of deployments? There’s lots of practical guidance in this course
  • ITIL 4 – building on previous versions of ITIL, ITIL 4 introduces new concepts like the service value system, which is why it is in a different category to ITIL v3. ITIL 4 will challenge organizations to look at
  • service management in a new way
  • Cloud – as we move to cloud services, what challenges does this pose for IT service managers? This course explains the history of cloud, and its impact on service management, allowing ITSM professionals to see how their role will evolve
  • Agile Scrum – wholeheartedly embraced in some organizations and completely new to others, this course introduces Agile software development and then looks in detail at Scrum, one of the more popular Agile approaches

Mixing training with experience and continuing to evolve

It’s important to remember that training alone is never the complete solution. I remember taking my ITIL v2 Foundation course and rushing back to work, full of new things I wanted to do. We need a CMDB, a CAB, a KEDB! It was all too much, too soon for the organization I was working in at the time, but I used my training to create improvements and built experience on top of what I’d learned.

Organizations need to consider different ways of training their staff to get the best results. Rather than a 3 day course once a year, a balanced approach might deliver more improvements. Look at eLearning, meet ups, conferences, forums – what can you do to keep your teams engaged? Staff who feel inspired will bring a better attitude to their work. If your organization is looking at new ways of working like Agile or SIAM, training your staff will help them to feel positive about the changes.

At ITSM Zone, we’ve worked with thousands of organizations all over the world to help them give their teams the skills they need to deliver day to day IT service and innovate to increase the value they offer. If you’d like to talk about a balanced training program for your team, contact our dedicated account managers to learn more.

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