Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bad Training Class

I've been in a SharePoint Designer training class for the last two days that has largely been a waste of time. I'm far from being some sort of website guru but what I needed was more SharePoint specific information about data sources and pulling info from .xml documents, not a class on how to use Designer to edit HTML and apply master pages. I probably could have taught this class myself with two days of prep time.

Perhaps most disappointing was the fact that the instructor didn't actually have a lot of SharePoint specific knowledge. This kid's (and he's definitely a kid, he might be 25) specialty is DreamWeaver and he's just applying his knowledge of that program to follow along with a really shitty book provided by the training company, New Horizons. Yes New Horizons, your training materials suck.

Honestly, it's not really the instructor's fault that I'm not getting what I need out of this class; I blame our client's training coordinator for that. Since I'm the de facto lead SharePoint developer where I work, it probably would have made sense to consult with me about exactly what I needed to learn in a SharePoint Designer class. And since it would have made sense to do that, it didn't happen.

The real problem with not learning anything of real value in this class, is that we (really I) have been kind of stuck on a couple of SharePoint projects. It doesn't matter that what our client is asking for is shit-in-your-pants stupid, they are now going to expect that I will be able to surmount all previous obstacles and will probably ask for some additional bells & whistles just so they feel like they got their money's worth out of their training dollars.

This brings me to the problem with the gov't and their lack of need for efficiency of any kind. Rather than doing some sort of cost/benefit analysis to determine if it makes sense for me to spend a couple of months developing a "staff locator" or automated meeting agendas or whatever type of computerized snipe hunt they come up with, they just say, "Do it." They don't care how little benefit they will get out of it, they don't care if what they're asking for doesn't make any sense, and they really don't care how much it costs. They want what they want and, as gov't contractors, we're obliged to give it to them. Seriously, it's like working for children sometimes; they just want to see how far they can push you before you tell them "No."

16 comments:

Chris said...

I totally feel your pain. I work in technical sales solutioning for a company that does a lot of large government IT operations contract, and some of the things they ask for are *ridiculous* and drive up the cost in incredible ways.

Little things, like changing the average time to answer from a help desk from 30 seconds down to 15 can dramatically increase the operations costs. Or the fact that we have to price to their requirement that every time a government employee drops their Blackberry in the toilet, we have to give them a new one at no incremental charge.

There really needs to be more rationality in government procurement... they may get competitive pricing, but what they're asking for is way off the mark from what is being done in the commercial space.

Ok, back to working on my project plan for such a beast...

Hill Rat said...

Chris,

Thanks for stopping by.

We work for folks that promised to do a $400M job for $200M. As you can well imagine, the gov't is constantly trying to make up for built-in budgetary shortfalls by extracting as much $$$ as possible from gov't vendors like ourselves.

Aaron said...

Hill Rat,

I'd like your permission to use parts of this blog on training during my presentations on "effective" training programs. I'm looking for real expereinces to share with those who decide what training is needed for who within their orgs. If you would prefer I do not do so, I completely understand. Thanks for your consideration.

Hill Rat said...

Aaron,

Feel to free to use any or all of this blog post.

Thanks for reading!

Best,

HR

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