As mission critical managers continually strive for methods to extend continuous operation, a successful practice is increasingly seeing implementation: the orientation program. Although nearly always developed to minimize the learning curve for new team members, virtually all who employ a program report it serves as a valuable resource for even the most experienced individuals in the group. When one is in doubt about a system’s intended performance, capacity, or configuration, or simply wishes to find a vendor’s emergency phone number, an orientation manual is a valued resource.
The actual manual is just part of an optimal orientation program. The most effective incorporate customized “shadow” schedules, weekly feedback sessions, informal written tests, and peer validation of progress in addition to the document.