To Train or Not to Train – Is That Still a Question?


To Train or Not to Train – Is That Still a Question?

Sadly, for decades now, I have seen way too many people and organizations give professional training and certification short shrift.

Much to their detriment in the end.

This has always baffled me, because I have consistently found value in attending training classes, workshops, seminars, technical conferences, and the like. Even if the class was not great, the contacts I made were always invaluable.

I find that I learn best working directly with an experienced professional who has “been there and done that.”  Put another way, I like to learn from other people’s mistakes! For me nothing replaces the ability to be interactive and ask questions of a qualified instructor.

The reasons people have given me for NOT taking a training class are typically:

  1. It costs too much (i.e., no budget)
  2. I can’t take time away from the daily job, or I can’t afford to have my team out of the office that long
  3. The idea that “It’s really not that hard – we can figure it out ourselves by reading books and blogs.”

All of these excuses point to a lack of understanding of the value of the training in question, the level of effort truly required to gain workable knowledge of a new concept, and a lack of considering the increase in risk of project failure by trying to go it alone. In addition, these excuses indicate poor planning (IMO). I must ask – why is there no budget or time allowed for training if you are adopting a new approach?

Remember – failure to plan is planning to fail!

Looking specifically at Data Vault 2.0 and CDVP2 certification, I have seen this “reasoning” far too often over the last 15-20 years. In many cases when I have encountered failures in Data Vault projects it was completely due to the lack of a proper and complete understanding of the Data Vault Methodology (as well as some nuances of the modeling technique). Or an even worse case, the client got bad advice from a rogue consultant who was not trained and did not have real experience in large scale enterprise projects using Data Vault (frighteningly, in one case the consultant had only read one of my blogs and some discussions on the internet).

Often folks read a blog or two (sometimes my introductory books, Super Charge Your Data Warehouse: Invaluable Data Modeling Rules to Implement Your Data Vault and Better Data Modeling: An Introduction to Agile Data Engineering Using Data Vault 2.0, or even Dan’s book, Building a Scalable Data Warehouse with Data Vault 2.0) and think they can just go it alone based on the examples. Unfortunately, most blogs and these books are designed to introduce the concepts and rationale for DV 2.0 and provide varying levels of examples to make it easier to visualize. They are for people new to the concept.  In the case of Building a Scalable Data Warehouse with Data Vault 2.0, this book is considered a primer – a prerequisite – to attending the Certified Data Vault 2.0 Practitioner (CDVP2) course. The real world of data is much more complex and messy, so while these resources get you started, they simply cannot go into the depth needed to be successful in adopting Data Vault at an enterprise level.

This is why I tell people that getting trained by a qualified instructor is a critical success factor to the adoption of Data Vault, just as it would be for any new methodological approach. CDVP2 training truly is a risk mitigation strategy. Without proper training you are risking project success. At a minimum, you are risking your timeline when the team is forced to do last minute research or to burn through multiple iterations trying to solve a problem that is taught in the CDVP2 bootcamp classes.

The benefits of training, especially training an entire team, are numerous:

  1. Everyone who attends training is on the same page and can execute using a common vocabulary that is well defined
  2. A live training class affords you the opportunity to ask in depth questions and receive clarification on concepts and techniques that might not be clear from a blog post, book, or slide deck
  3. Training enriches and extends your professional network of like-minded, educated individuals whose experience may just help you solve a problem later
  4. You establish a mentoring relationship with a qualified instructor who can help you apply the principles and concepts of the method to your own unique business problems
  5. Your team is empowered with the knowledge to be successful at their job (which in turn boosts their confidence and satisfaction, and thus, improves staff retention)

Like any new tool, technology, or method; getting trained earlier rather than later will save time and money and lead to more successful value delivery.

The benefits of training seriously outweigh the perceived costs.

So how can you afford to not get CDVP2 trained and certified?

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