Curriculum Management as Program Management

One of the early book drafts, from way-back in 1982, of what would much later become my book: lean-ISD – after Dr. Geary A. Rummler suggested that name in place of The PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management – that I still have a copy of on the original wide green-and-white striped “printer paper” with the hole-punched pull-away tabs on both sides, because that was what you used back in the 1980s – was originally titled:

“The Curriculum Program Managers Handbook”

“Program Management” being from the world of MARKETING – and not simply the advertising/promotions side of MARKETING as most people think about it. But from the side of Marketing that is concerned with:

“what targeted markets do we serve, and with what product/service mix, and with what delivery strategies and partnerships, for what kinds of returns for what kinds of investments over which period of time….” – “ and then knowing Product, what are the Price, Place and Promotional elements of the 4 P’s of a Marketing Plan?

That original book title gave way over time, but Program Management was an instrumental concept that drove requirements into the design and development of the PACT Processes. Such as “if you were to run Training as a business and were to employ a Program Management approach to product development, maintenance and deployment” your approach and systems and processes would need to enable:

  • Starting at any level: architecture or product or component and being able to backfill into the others totally or partially as needs of the Enterprise dictated
  • Valid ISD – Instructional Systems Design
  • Predicating and Measuring Key Metrics around Stakeholder Requirements Satisfaction, and your own Time, Costs, and Returns

PACT does that.

Program Management is the daddy of Product Management which may be complex itself and represent large Product Families and be organized into Strategic Business Units. One of my key clients back in 1986-1991 had 5 SBUs managing over 500,000 separate billable items (similar to SKUs in some industries).

Life can be complex. How to get your arms around that when needed? Program Management.

The PACT Processes, the 5 of the model above, enable starting your ISD response where appropriate to the client needs and requests…at the architectural level with CAD, at the product level with MCD, or at the IAD level. And then enables you to move into the other areas as the needs of your client dictate.

You might start with a CAD when a critical target audience or audiences’ process performance has associated RISKS and REWARDS levels making this a savvy business-decision to address to ensure targeted performance competence, and your current instructional offerings are overlapped/gapped or otherwise inadequate to meet the needs for accelerated time at reduced costs to performance competence mastery.

You might start with MCD when a lack of awareness/knowledge/skill for a critical task and/or topic need is inhibiting process performance. So you develop a course or two for delivery in group-paced means, self-paced means, or coached means, using old and/or new technology within the deployment. E-Learning fits in all three.

You might start with IAD when your need is for some component content that might stand on its own forever, or until you wrap other content around it to make it more of a instructional product or service. These potentially stand-alone components could include:

  • Instructional content at the awareness, knowledge, or skill level
  • Knowledge tests
  • Performance tests
  • Simulation exercises
  • Case Studies
  • Product Demonstrations
  • Installation Demonstrations
  • Policy/Procedures/Guidelines
  • Performance aids /Job Aids
  • Electronic or paper desk procedures
  • Best Practices
  • Lessons Learned
  • Example Outputs and Templates/Tools
  • etc.

The PACT Processes are covered extensively in my 1999 book: lean-ISD, available as a free PDF – and addressed at the evolving (meaning: not yet close to being populated yet) PACTWiki which provides PACT models, methodology descriptions, and tools & templates organized by the Phases and sub-Phases of CAD and MCD/IAD.

What Drives Program Management in ISD?
Program Management concepts in PACT require the establishment of good SRM – Stakeholder Requirements Management – which is just like CRM – Customer Requirements Management with recognition that the Customer Isn’t King – and so expands beyond the “customer” to include all relevant stakeholders. See the model below for a formal approach – appropriate where the situation is complex and the stakes are high.

I like to help my ISD clients help their customers and stakeholders organize themselves for COMMAND & CONTROL & EMPOWERMENT. To help them better serve their internal customers/clients, and not run afoul of the other stakeholders – so that all stakeholders win to the greatest extent possible.

And that if there were trade-offs in the balancing of Requirements – where there was conflict – it could be clear to all “the rationale” for not meeting some stakeholder’s requirement – because some other requirement superseded it in the final analysis.

Which only makes it right and equitable. Because not all requirements are equal.

Running “Training/Learning/Knowledge Management as a Business” requires more processes in place and in-enough-control than those that are ISD.

Hence my development of the T&D Systems View Clockface model, process descriptions and assessment guide from my next book (#3 by that time): T&D Systems View.

You can see that Program Management is reflected in the model at 5 O’clock, proceeding 6 O’Clock where CAD, MCD and IAD come into play.

Details are in the book which is available as a free PDF.

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