PACTools Enable Performance-based ISD

Enabling Performance-based ISD
Flexible tools and templates WITH a proven performance-based ISD process can help you make ISD efforts predictable and effective.

I started building my tool kit for performance-based ISD in 1979. It started with the following items:

  • Phased Project Plan
  • Performance Map
  • K/S Map

I’ve been practicing ISD – Instructional Systems Design since 1979 when I joined Wickes Lumber’s Training Services department in Saginaw Michigan after graduating from Kansas with a degree in Radio/TV/Film. I was a Training Developer working at creating self-paced and structured OJT training materials including booklets and videos, for delivery in our 287 D-I-Y lumber centers across the US. My boss and peer were “Rummler-ites” having worked at BXBS in Detroit with Geary Rummler’s brother, Rick. I spent half of my time as a developer writing video scripts and the “coaches structured delivery guide” and half as video producer/production specialist.

After 2 years I went to Motorola’s Training & Education Center (the forerunner organization to Motorola University) for 2 years, where I was a Training Project Supervisor.

There I skip-level reported to Bill Wiggenhorn for a year (until a new boss showed up) and served as the “point-person” with the target audiences within the Manufacturing/Materials/Purchasing functions across the various Motorola business units (Sectors). There I developed the first self-paced training content in quality topics (7 basic tools, and then the 7 advanced tools) for first line factory supervisors (where we discovered illiteracy in the workplace big time!).

While at Motorola I also got to work on two large projects with Geary Rummler as “my consultant.”

But it was another project Geary had at the time with MTEC that ties in to this post…and that was the development of a Rummler-methodology-based ISD “Design” Process” for MTEC.

I had 14 peers at this new corporate function…MTEC…and most were new to the company like me. And I was the only one who was “familiar” with Geary’s approach due to my experiences at Wickes.

Anyway – that project, conducted “participatively” following Motorola’s new “Participative Management” concepts and intended cultural change…effectively stalled and then killed the efforts. Too many cooks. Some of whom didn’t really cook, but were in peripheral areas of ISD. A lesson learned. About too many cooks.

The Birth of PACT
Then in late 1982 I joined a small consulting firm that became SWI (Svenson & Wallace Inc.) where I developed the beginnings of the PACT Processes, starting with the first Curriculum Architecture Design – CAD – project…that I worked on during two successive weekends before having left Motorola.

It used a Performance Model and K/S Matrix that was part of our article published in Training Magazine in September 1984, describing the process that we had standardized for this unique, performance-based Training Needs Analysis methodology.

The Evolution of PACT
By 1985 I had conducted 10 CAD projects, by 1988 I was up to 21. All for my client’s critical performers in some of their most critical business processes or most critical business operational areas.

I kept refining the structured meeting processes for the Analysis Team and Design Team. I formalized the ETA – Existing T&D Assessment process so that I could hand that back to my clients to reduce my cost and their project price and put junior consultants on that to lower the costs and price.

I began coaching and developing other consultants in our firm and some external subcontractors. An especially interesting application was for all technical populations at one half of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in 1986. Our up front analysis efforts were used for designing over 2000 performance tests…the only written tests/knowledge tests were dictated by state regulations…otherwise demonstrated performance was the only way to Qualify/Certify…for 19 technical populations to support a Pay Progression Program…that is still in effect today!

The CAD project that was to follow was deemed unneeded – as it seems that if you clarify the performance capabilities you want “demonstrated” and tie it to pay – you don’t need to put in a lot of formal training. U-OJT…un-structured OJT works with a highly skilled (already) and motivated workforce.

The Planned Evolution of PACT Into EPPI
When I began the total formalization of PACT I also intended it to address the process needs beyond the knowledge/skills of the learner/Performer…to their other human attributes and values as well as the non-human, Environmental Asset enablers.

I’m writing a quarterly column at on EPPI – Enterprise Process Performance Improvement, extension of PACT into my version of a Human Performance Technology – HPT.

The Evolving Enabling Tool/Template-Sets
On my web site I offer the PACT Basic Tool-Set, a series of templates and tools for use. And the book lean-ISD to explain how to use them. The book also includes detailed Tasks Lists for each of the 3 levels of ISD that PACT addresses.

The PACTools I Use Today
These are being covered in a series of monthly articles being published by ISPI’s Performance Xpress e-newsletter during 2007. And each are expanded upon in 12 articles available as PDFs in the Instructional Systems Professional Community (ProComm) area of the ISPI – International Society for Performance Improvement – web site:

Again, they are presented in my book lean-ISD.

Common Processes and common philosophies, models, methods, tools, templates, and techniques are

  • Easier to plan, monitor and manage
  • Easier to learn, master, and coach others

The PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management are such common, but situationally flexible, accelerated and customer-supplier collaborative ISD…

…and are enabled with a flexible set of tools and templates.

For more see my book: leanISD available on my web site as a free, 404-page PDF, at:

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