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April 23, 2018

Content strategy proof of concept: don’t forget training

A  proof-of-concept phase is often the key to unlocking the budget for an entire content strategy project. When defining the scope and goals for a proof of concept, don’t forget your team will still need training.

Photo: Pixabay

Training is the most overlooked part of a content strategy, so it’s unsurprising it does not get much attention during the proof-of-concept phase.

A proof-of-concept project usually means working within the confines of limited funding, so in-depth training for a large team is out of the question. That means you need to get creative to ensure knowledge transfer without busting the budget. Here are some possibilities for integrating training into your content strategy proof of concept:

  • Selecting a smaller team for the proof of concept. Often, the proof-of-concept project is a subset of the overall content strategy plan. So why not choose just a subset of team members to implement that plan? Some team members continue to work exclusively in the current workflow to cover existing deadlines, while others carve out some (or all) of their time to work on the proof of concept. Having fewer people in the mix for the proof of concept means you’re not on the hook for shifting the mindset and skills of the entire team at one time. The proof-of-concept team will be an invaluable resource in explaining and evangelizing the new process as other team members come on board.
  • Designating the tool-savviest team member as the primary technical contact. If you’re lucky, someone on your team has experience with the requirements for your proof of concept. Perhaps they have the skills from a previous job. If you don’t have someone with those skills, identify an employee who really understands what you’re trying to achieve and isn’t afraid of doing a little learning to reach those goals. That team member can work closely with the tool vendors, develop a basic understanding of the skills required for success, and share that knowledge with others working on the proof of concept. Which leads to the next suggestion…
  • Setting up regular learning/venting sessions. Good communication is essential to the success of any project, and a proof-of-concept project is no different. Getting the proof-of-concept team together on a regular basis is a great way to ensure everyone is on track. People can share their successes and frustrations, offer short demonstrations on techniques, and learn from fellow team members on how to avoid pitfalls. If the team is geographically distributed, set up web meetings with screen sharing to foster that essential team communication.

Do not let the smaller scope of a proof-of-concept project fool you into believing training and knowledge transfer are optional. They are not.

Did you successfully integrate training into a proof-of-concept project? Please share your experience in a comment.