Question

How do you train staff on new products and features?

  • 6 August 2021
  • 5 replies
  • 143 views

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Do you have a role dedicated to training and onboarding? What do you use for reference material? (We are currently using Zendesk)


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5 replies

Userlevel 7
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I’ll provide some context around how we do it here at Productboard and some from my past work in product. But also curious -- what prompted the question? Are you re-evaluating how you’re doing it? Just starting it for the first time?

I’ve seldom had the luxury of a role dedicated to training and onboarding. With new products and features it’s often a mix of the product manager, product marketing team, and other supporting roles that help with training and the creation of reference materials. With the emergence of Product Operations roles though, some teams are centralizing that with that function and they will coordinate. Training in most teams is organized by department with a roadshow and a focus on ‘training the trainer’ so teams can share materials further if needed.

Depending on what’s being released, the level of detail may vary, but some common elements may include:

  • Video material - these can be as simple as Loom walkthroughs or and basic simple gifs to better explain capabilities and could also include external customer-facing video
  • Supporting slides and 1-pagers for internal enablement and reference
  • Help Center content
  • FAQs, release notes and other technical support resources
  • Outreach and sales-related materials -- scripts, selling points, value propositions, competitive research
  • Social content, email, campaign overviews 
  • Access to supporting demo accounts or updates to our standard demo to include the feature and some examples
  • Make extensive use of an internal wiki to share information in one central location so anyone onboarding to the feature or the product overall has once place to go
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This is very helpful. We have a very small product team and have been creating our own reference material, hosting staff trainings, etc. We still struggle with making sure that the entire company has the correct information and understands what the feature/product does and does not do. Our goal is for our sales and service teams to have the same knowledge and understanding. We’re growing and have a lot of work on the product side right now, so we thought having a dedicated person to manage product training would be beneficial.

Userlevel 3
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Something we have found useful is to put together “internal release notes” that include background on why the feature was developed and reasoning behind key decisions. We also include links to any new or updated documentation, and FAQs/troubleshooting steps we anticipate our Customer Success team needing.

We just create this in Notion since that’s our home base for document sharing internally. We are a fairly small team, with only one PM (me) and one PO, so I work together with the PO to put together our internal release notes.

In addition, we have a company-wide demo lead by the development team that worked on the feature, so everyone sees it in action before we give them the internal release notes to reinforce the knowledge. Then we have an internal release period before public launch so that the team can play around and learn on their own.

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Hi Marisaseetickets, 

It does make sense to hire someone if your company size is 100+ and has multiple teams (more than 3 teams) that need to be upskilled. Scotts suggestions are great and I'm going to try these out in my own organization. Right now we only have 3 Product Managers, including myself, in our business. The aim for us right now is to hire two more product managers that each have 2-3 products that they are responsible for, and with each enhancement and deployment of a feature, they would be the ones responsible to do the training videos, webinars, and key points for the documentation (which a technical writer will actually do). The idea is because the product manager is responsible for a certain EPIC or feature from start to finish, they would have the functionality knowledge, use cases and a great understanding of the feature in order to pass this onto other teams. Hope this helps 

Userlevel 5
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We generally follow a similar process as @samgioia outlined.
At the end of each sprint, if there’s any customer-facing content, the development and product teams will have a company-wide “sprint demo.” Otherwise, internal release notes are distributed to ensure that everyone is on the same page (regarding bug fixes and backend changes [if any improvement to function or user experience, we mention it]).

We are in the process of hiring a technical writer to make documentation more consistent. For the time being, most of this falls on my shoulders. :joy: