Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the NCPMI Annual Event at the Raleigh Convention Center. This is a day-long event for Project Management Professionals that offers a chance to attend a number of project management-related sessions during the day. The sessions covered a wide range of topics and provided useful information relating to projects of all different types.
One of the more amusing anecdotes discussed during a session had to do with unexpected challenges that are often encountered as new technology is adopted. The speaker talked about helping his mother learn how to use her new smartphone.
The first challenge was a fairly common and expected one with new technology: user buy-in. His mother resisted getting a new phone for years because she did not see the need for it. Her old phone worked fine. Who needed to text? If somebody wanted to see how she was doing, they should just call her like they had always done. Eventually, her old phone died and she did end up with a smartphone. It turned out that once she actually gave the new technology a try, she was a big fan of it.
The unexpected challenge was getting her to understand the proper use of some phrases that were new to her vocabulary. This was not really something that had been given much thought. There was time spent teaching his mother the basics of working with the phone, of course, but not much thought had been given to ensuring that she understood some of the terms and phrases that she may encounter. This became apparent after his mother had been using the new phone for a few weeks and had posted on her Facebook wall about how she had “booty called” her son three times one week. Needless to say, he very quickly explained to her the difference between a “butt dial” and a “booty call”. She had heard both phrases before, and in her mind, they were the same thing. There was obviously some important user training that still needed to happen.
As you help people learn to work with new technology, this is an important lesson to keep in mind: be sure to provide proper and complete user training. It can help prevent embarrassing situations for everybody involved.