The official motto of the Boy Scouts of America is to “Be Prepared”. The motto for eDiscovery trainers should be “Prepare in advance”! In fact, my biggest pet peeve on the job is having to conduct user training in a review database that has yet to be customized to the unique needs and expectations of the client. For me, revealing the un-dressed template to the client is akin to attending a meeting in my bathrobe! When I prepare for an in-person training session, I always make sure I look professional and presentable. I do the same for the database I am going to train in.
My preferred MO is to speak to the client first and gather as much information as I can about the case, the data, and their goals for the review. Then, we can set up the workflow in advance so the training reflects exactly what the users will encounter when they log in themselves. Minor adjustments can be made quickly on the fly without derailing the training session. Failing to take this approach and opting instead to train on a template case often leads to extended tangential conversations about what the users would like to see instead of the template settings.
Why not set the stage prior to training to resemble the user’s experience as closely as possible before you attempt to demonstrate what their jobs will entail for the next several weeks? I have found that doing so not only results in a more efficient use of everyone’s time during training, but also narrows the margin for any questions that may arise after training. Remember, in a trainer’s world, the best way to ensure job security is to make sure your clients DON’T need your services again…until the next project!