Recently I was asked to coach a team of 9 year-old boys in a recreational soccer league. I had retired from soccer coaching several years ago after my youngest daughter went to college, but the league said they would have to cancel this age group if they could not find another coach, so I agreed.
It only took a couple of practices for me to remember why I gravitated towards coaching girls rather than boys. There is no shortage of energy and enthusiasm from 9 year-old boys but they just don’t listen. Simple instructions like pass, tackle, shoot go right in one ear and out the other and when you take them to one side and quietly explain what you want them to do, they nod with an eager “yes, coach” and go right back on the field and do the opposite!
The girls I have coached on the other hand, actually listen and tend to follow instructions and learn strategy.
I realized by the time of our first game that the only way the boys would learn is to make mistakes and then they would want to listen and learn. Well, they made a lot of mistakes and we lost our first game and our second and our third. I was beginning to doubt my strategy but then I had a revelation. I had been focusing on basic skills during the practices and they had these pretty well down but what they needed now was more real-world practice so I changed the practice sessions to playing real games.
We played 3 more league games and although we lost them all, we were noticeably getting better. In addition, the boys were having a great time and loving soccer practices as well as the games.
The final weekend was a knockout tournament for all the teams and since we had lost all our regular league games, we had to play the best teams. Amazingly, we made it all the way to the final winning our first ever games. We put up a good fight in the final won second place. When the boys all received runners-up medals, they acted as if they were the champions of the world and were so happy.
So, right now, a lot of BusinessObjects customers are upgrading to BI 4.3 and the biggest change is the radically new Web Intelligence user interface. Anyone who creates or maintains Web Intelligence reports would be advised to take at least a 1-day differences training course to fully understand both the visual changes and new functionality. Taking this course is equivalent to the basic skills training for my soccer team.
However, this basic skills training needs to be supplemented with “real world” practice so you need to take what you have learned and apply it by trying things out in your development or test environments. You will make mistakes and you will get frustrated, but you will also improve and get so good that you will both love Webi 4.3 and become true champions of it.
Just like with my soccer team, the path to success is a combination of learning the Webi differences with formal hands-on training and then get lots of real-world practice.
Of course, the female BusinessObjects developers will have a slight advantage over their male counterparts after the formal training, but the guys can catch up if they keep up with their real word practicing!