Support and training on FLOSS migrations

libre software, mswl, mswl-deploy, mswl-intro, mswl-manage

Hi all!!!

The last Friday we had a great class about the cost of the migration from privative software infrastructure to libre one, and aspects related with the formation and training in libre software.

And we had a question to response:

How do you face the formation and education on a migration to libre software?

For doing this exercise I think in an example scheme similar to the Zaragoza city council.

We have a very big office when we have conventional users (manage, accounts, recruitment, etc.) and technical (advance) users (engineers, computer technicians, etc.)

Is different the type of formation and training that we must give to our users regarding the type of expertise.

For conventional users, we should give them a incremental training based at the beginning in the most easy and conventional applications, like for example internet applications like browser, email, etc. then we will pass to office apps and at last the operating system.
So we will the training in an incremental which will be on the hand of the migration.

For technical users (advanced users) the training will be different, surely the time used on them would be shorter, and maybe these users already were libre software users, so the training would be easier.
Of course these users would use different tools, maybe libre software ides, databases, etc. and here the training would be essential because this tools are maybe the most important (the database) on the company.
So we follow the same strategy with the conventional users, we will give the training in an incremental way.

Of course we find several problems:

  • The no provision of the users to learn something new, this is very usual, and we have to have patience, and try to treat every user as individual (well this is different if the case is based into a public administration when the officials have a lot of power, and in the other side a private company, where the change is take by directive and the employee doesn’t other thing to do that accept the decision).
  • Rumours, and gossip, we must to try to this things don’t occur, because is bad for the environment, ie: if a user spend time saying how the bad is the new system, at last his partners surely think the same and the change will be hard.
  • Try to explain the advantages of libre software on an easy way to all employees understand the advantages, not only in the office but in their home too.
  • Try to give support not only when we give the training but at any time on a remote way, when they have doubts or problems don’t feel alone.
  • For technical users (advanced), would be good if the training also were good by their own expertise, not only in the office but in other aspects of their professional life like certified training for different tools and systems, certified into programming languages, on this way the employee will think that the training is much better and more approach than an only training based in the tools that they use in the office.
  • We have problems, based in the certifications, on the cost of these training, is not the same give formation related Mozilla Firefox to give formation related Red Hat Enterprise.
  • And at last, the one thing support, support and support, the main goal with the formation is that the user feel comfortable with the new tools, and this only is possible with good support.

In conclusion, the training is a very important thing (maybe the most important) on a libre software migration, because at last the users are the ones how work in a company and the ones who make to the company earn money, and if they fails (support, training, formation), the migration won’t serve to nothing.

See you my friends!!!

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