Why Should I Use Training Resources in Project Management Software?
Most paid project management solutions come with a host of training resources including videos, webinars, FAQ pages, help articles, community forums, and other knowledge bases.
These training resources are designed to help new users set up, update, view, and maintain projects, tasks, folders, and other key project aspects in the software. Training resources may also be created to support new software upgrades and patches.
Communal training resources such as community forums can allow knowledge and idea-sharing across teams, businesses, and industries. Community resources extend beyond the reliance on your project management vendor for support and allow you to reach out to a worldwide community of software users.
The importance of training resources in project management software
Proper training is critical to employee effectiveness and project success. Two key benefits of employee training are:
- Training resources address employee weaknesses.
For instance, project management software training allows you to help employees strengthen the skills they need to improve, and enables all team members to reach a higher level of skill, knowledge, and ability. Widespread and consistent training can help reduce any weak links within your team so some members no longer have to rely heavily on others for help with completing basic tasks.
- Training resources improve employee performance by increasing their awareness of best practices and procedures.
For example, an employee may discover a much quicker way to complete a task that they were previously spending an excessive amount of time on. Training ensures your team members are always up to date on changes that may impact their work.
Without proper training resources, either you’re left to plan and provide software training on your own, or your team members are forced to go without it. Either option is costly and ineffective.
If you decide to plan and provide resources for training, then you need to spend time becoming a system subject matter expert before you can teach others. Plus, you’ll be forced to take time away from other duties to support your staff and walk them through problems. Or you’ll need to invest a considerable amount of time creating training resources for them to refer to.
If you choose to live without project management software training resources, your team members are left on their own to figure out how to use the system. This approach can lead to inconsistent processes, time wasted struggling with software features, and employees who are inefficient and unhappy.
People sometimes claim that one of the benefits of open source software is the support of a large user community. However, the sheer volume of conflicting information in an unmanaged community can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Fortunately, most project management software vendors who offer paid software solutions manage their community forums. Managed forums allow you to search and sort for relevant topics with ease.
Forums also allow you to share your own experience with the software and bounce ideas off other users. For instance, you can communicate with other users in your industry to discover how they chose to set up or maintain their project management structures and hierarchies within the system. This information can help you come up with improved processes for your own project management.
Community forums often include threads on important topics including:
- Announcements about new features and fixes
- Tips and tricks for using the software
- Best practices for using the software and for general project management
Plus, community forums provide you with a place to make feature requests and help the vendor prioritize upcoming features to better meet your needs. For example, you can vote on other users’ feature suggestions. The advantage of voting is that it allows the vendor to see the most in-demand suggestions and prioritize future updates and improvements accordingly.
You can also choose to follow feature requests that you’re interested in. This functionality allows you to easily monitor voting, receive new comments, and stay up to date on any progress toward developing and publishing the feature.
Project management software help centers serve as a knowledge base for software users. Help centers typically contain information related to getting started with the software, and the answers to common, basic support questions.
Other resources that may be found within a software help center include:
- Tutorials and walkthroughs of system features and functions
- Documentation outlining key project management concepts
- Guides on advanced software features
- Information about subscription and account types
- Training guides for creating, modifying, and running reports
- A list of available integrations and information about enabling them
- Details about general account management and billing
- Account security functions, options, and management
- An overview of available software apps
- News regarding software releases
- Video tutorials
- Information on how to reach live support
Tips for finding resources
Once you navigate to your project management software help portal, you should be able to search for whatever training resources you need using a search bar. Typically, you can choose to search either the vendor knowledge base, the community forum, or both.
While vendor community forums are managed, forum moderators cannot always keep up with community posters. Therefore, if you’re looking for concrete answers, such as, “How to create a new project folder,” it’s more efficient to limit search results to the knowledge base.
On the other hand, if you’re seeking tips, tricks, and best practices, you may want to search only the community.
If you choose to run a search on both the knowledge base and community, within the search results, it should illustrate where each result is from and any parent topics that it belongs to. Community results will also show you who created the posts and how long ago they were published.
Within the knowledge base, you can further narrow search results down by categories, such as:
- Release news
- Tasks, folders, and projects
- Account management
Within the community, results are grouped by topics. Some examples of topic areas are:
- Product feedback
- Weekly release notes
- Best practices
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can create your own question in the community forum. Both the vendor community team and other software users will be able to provide answers.