5 O’clock: T&D Product and Service Line Design System

From my 2001 book: T&D Systems View…

5 O’Clock – T&D Processes
There are three in my model:

  • 5.1: T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process
  • 5.2: T&D Product Line Design Process
  • 5.3: T&D Service Line Design Process

Principle
T&D products and services have value to the enterprise when they focus on helping humans achieve high levels of performance in their job tasks within critical enterprise processes. Learning to perform, via appropriate T&D, is but one of many means to that end.

Overview
This system’s processes organize and conduct the efforts to “systematically engineer” or “architect” the performance-based T&D product lines that make sense “programmatically.”

There are many potential T&D targets within an enterprise. Many are important. Few are absolutely critical. Few enterprises are in a current state of self-actualizing and have enough time and dollars to “spray and pray” or “oil all of the squeaky wheels” when it comes to T&D. Resources are always scarce, and there are always more problems and opportunities that you could, rather than should, address.

This system should use a reputable ISD approach to systematically define the performance-enabling awareness, knowledge, and skills; assess any existing T&D that the shareholder has already invested in; and then architect or systems engineer the T&D product line (and the T&D service line if non-product “services” are intended to be made available). The process produces a curriculum architecture and service line program management system. Product and service priorities for high-payback and critical business needs should be quickly, but carefully, identified and quantified.

Only those enterprise needs of highest impact in terms of return on investment and economic value add should be addressed, and only at the appropriate time given that there would probably be more efforts than just “training.” While the final list of medium and low priorities may be someone else’s highest priority, maybe even their number one priority, that does not make it right to address from an enterprise-wide view. But the high priorities may be numerous, and some may need an integrated, program management effort to conduct many projects simultaneously.

Also, the elements of any business process are more than just the human knowledge and skill required. There are other factors that cause or inhibit performance, and some T&D professionals are in a great position to help the enterprise managers and executives see what the other gaps are in critical enterprise processes so that they may guide and resource non-instructional intervention development and deployment efforts to address them. Maybe a process and a tool needs to be improved, and no training is really needed! Or maybe both instructional and non-instructional interventions will be needed, making all projects more independent and complex.

Only those potential knowledge-/skill-deficient targets with high-payback, via increased revenues and/or reductions in costs and cycle time, should be planned, resourced, and managed. Only those targets that are critically important to the enterprise in the short and/or long term should be funded. No low-hanging fruit T&D projects/products should ever be addressed.

There is no reason to do otherwise from a shareholder view of where to strategically place their bets. When the bets are placed, the T&D system needs to be able to handle a complex load of projects and activities.

T&D Process 5.1: T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process

Process Purpose
The T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process oversees the effort to determine, across the enterprise, which T&D priorities to address. The decisions made as to which of the highest priorities from the various units/segments of the enterprise should be addressed, and in what order, are the province of the governance and advisory group. This process interacts with the Governance and Advisory System and responds, perhaps planning and implementing over a multi-year period, depending on the complexity of the enterprise.

Process Description
The T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process exists to determine the sequence of projects to address specific performance-based needs, with available T&D resources based on the prioritized, critical enterprise needs.

No target audience should be addressed because it’s their turn. Only address those target audiences that are in mission-critical processes and are experiencing performance issues or are expected to have performance issues where the cost of non-conformance (CONC) is large, and the cost of conformance (COC) suggests return on investment that is sufficient compared to the enterprise hurdle rates and other opportunities.

There is no sense in spending shareholder equity, future profits (or investment dollars), for low-payback returns. You wouldn’t invest your own money that way.

If the T&D system is supporting a Knowledge Management System, human competency effort, or ERP systems, it should deliberately populate such a system for “push” audiences only.

A “push” audience is one for which the T&D Governance and Advisory System specifically targets and resources T&D efforts to address an issue of sufficient magnitude. If T&D expenditures are to become investments with significant payback, the leaders of the enterprise need to deliberately identify these targets and then resource the efforts for T&D to carry out.

All T&D efforts for development and delivery should be for “push” audiences only, and all T&D content should be built specifically for them. T&D content is expensive in terms of both its initial costs and its life-cycle costs. But design and development can be done in such a way that T&D content chunks, also known as learning objects (as well as other names), are made available to “pull” audiences at a minimal incremental cost. Never should the typically constrained resources of an enterprise be invested in the low-hanging fruit of meeting the lower-payback needs of “pull” audiences.

The T&D staff assigned to this process collaborates with advisory groups representing their functions and any of their “owned” enterprise processes. Functions, such as sales or finance, own certain systems and processes that include players from multiple functions. Examples include engineers involved in sales-owned proposal and bid process, or sales reps and engineers involved in finance-owned expense reimbursement process. The various T&D product and service lines are determined by addressing these constituencies as reflected in the advisory group structure.

Advisory groups could be structured as simply as marketing and sales, engineering, manufacturing, staff, and management. As always, it depends. Look at your organization chart. Then take similar disciplines (such as accountant, engineers, writers), organize them into learning communities, and establish a T&D advisory committee.

The advisory groups are facilitated in this process to make their case to the board of governors as to what T&D efforts should take place, and provide business cases for each of their requests. The T&D board of governors will allocate the limited resources at their disposal to maximize returns. The board of governors may have provided input initially to the advisory groups as to their role in upcoming/ongoing enterprise initiatives and where to focus their own investigations.

This approach helps to meet the current issues of the enterprise as well as to prepare the enterprise for its future, based on inputs from the functional process owners.

Current issues and strategic needs should always get all of the resources, very deliberately, as determined by the Governance and Advisory System. This process works the T&D side of the collaboration and feeds it.

Process Outputs and Their “Utilities”
The key outputs from the T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process include the following:

Key Outputs & Key Utilities

  • A list of prioritized T&D project targets with CONC and COC figures from each advisory group
  • This will enable the Governance and Advisory System to make rational business decisions as to where to “strategically place their bets.”
  • A final priority list of target projects for T&D to address
  • These are the marching orders for the T&D system for either product/service line design projects and/or product development efforts.

Is It Broken? Clues and Cues
Your T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process may be broken if…

  • Projects undertaken by the T&D system are not the most critical to the enterprise.
  • Return on investment and economic value add forecasts do not exist or suggest a low-payback for the efforts.
  • You’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop/acquire generic content, e.g., time management and communications skills, when strategic and/or critical enterprise initiatives have been under-resourced in the past.
  • No project management portfolio exists.
  • The portfolio is not aligned with business or T&D organization strategy.
  • The portfolio is not logical, and it doesn’t align with functions and/or management’s model of business.

Process Summary
The T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process ensures that all T&D product development efforts are targeted for significant payback areas.

Systematic efforts are made, involving all members of the T&D Governance and Advisory Processes, to better ensure sufficient return on investment and economic value add for all T&D projects and programs, and that those metrics are the drivers for making the tough allocation decisions.

Next, we’ll look at the process to design the T&D product line.

T&D Process 5.2: T&D Product Line Design Process

Process Purpose
The T&D Product Line Design Process is a macro-ISD process. It is a systematic process for conducting the project planning, performance and enabling analysis, macro-design of T&D, and prioritization of any product line gaps. It is very different from traditional ISD processes that develop only a course (or an e-learning module) as a “one-off” effort.

Process Description
The T&D Product Line Design Process should look at the total needs of the critical target audience(s) to architect the product line and reuse content chunks where appropriate to save large sums of money, time, and effort for both initial development costs and life-cycle costs for administration and maintenance.

The T&D Product Line Design Process designs the entire T&D product line. It does this incrementally by target audience(s), one at a time (or several in parallel), by systematically analyzing the critical performers within critical business processes.

Process Outputs and Their “Utilities”
The key outputs from the T&D Product Line Design Process include the following:

Key Outputs & Key Utilities

  • T&D product architecture for a target audience and priority gaps in that architecture
    Provides a blueprint for process performance improvement via human enhancement of knowledge and skills.

Is It Broken? Clues and Cues
Your T&D Product Line Design Process may be broken if

  • T&D efforts are “one-offs” and not part of a comprehensive effort to understand the total, critical needs of targeted audiences and address those high-payback needs on a priority basis.
  • “Chunks”/products don’t maximize potential for appropriate reuse.
  • There are gaps in critical content.
  • There is redundant content between T&D products.
  • T&D products don’t directly target performance and impact performance adequately.
  • Key, critical jobs do not have a logical menu and path for career development—members of key target audiences don’t know what T&D to complete in what order.
  • Your product offerings don’t align with critical, high-payback business/T&D strategies and needs.

Process Summary
The T&D Product Line Design Process architects or engineers the product line using a reusable content chunk (object) strategy in a systematic manner. Priority gaps, in that architecture, are then targeted to be addressed in the system and processes of 6 o’clock.

The T&D Product Line Design Process creates an architecture of modularized T&D sub-assemblies and products where shareable and unique modules of content are used to create performance-based T&D products (courses; workshops; structured, on-the-job training; CBT programs; book reading assignments; project assignments; etc.).

The T&D Product Line Design Process creates a systems view of the target audiences and learning platforms designed to maximize use of “common components/content modules.”
The intent is to define and design the entire architecture of all of the T&D products that could be, so that critical, high-payback business strategies and needs drive the prioritization of the T&D that should be, and the T&D organization can be resourced appropriately to manage the system’s processes and develop or acquire the T&D that will be.

Next, we’ll look at the process to design the T&D service line.

T&D Process 5.3: T&D Service Line Design Process

Process Purpose
The T&D Service Line Design Process is similar to the previous process, except that it macro-designs the non-product T&D service line. Those services might include performance improvement consultation, executive and manager coaching, job redesign, etc. (depending on the capabilities of the T&D system’s personnel skills and the intentions of the T&D Governance and Advisory System). A non-product service is not a “widget,” such as a course, book, video, attendance at a seminar, etc. It could be something such as a “coaching service” that is provided to new supervisors.

Process Description
The T&D Service Line Design Process approaches the need for other-than-product needs best met by the T&D resources versus other functions/organizations (TQM, industrial engineering, etc.). For example, “executive coaching or mentoring” is a service and not a product. Conducting a needs analysis is also a service and not a product.

All of the potential non-product service offerings are determined and approved by the T&D Governance and Advisory System before being built or bought via this process.

Process Outputs and Their “Utilities”
The key outputs from the T&D Service Line Design Process include the following:

Key Outputs & Key Utilities

  • T&D service architecture and priority gaps in that architecture
    Allows the T&D Governance and Advisory System insight into the other potential offerings needed by the enterprise for their resource allocation decision processes.

Is It Broken? Clues and Cues
Your T&D Service Line Design Process may be broken if

  • Portions of the enterprise are complaining of a lack of needed services from T&D or are recommending/demanding them.
  • T&D efforts are “one-offs” and not part of a comprehensive effort to understand the total, critical needs of targeted audiences, and then address and meet those high-payback needs in a priority basis.
  • T&D services don’t directly target performance improvement.
    Service offerings don’t align with critical, high-payback business/T&D strategies and needs.

Process Summary
The T&D Service Line Design Process determines the needs for high-payback, non-product services from the T&D system.

Alpha and Omega’s T&D Product and Service Line Design Systems
At Alpha, the performance-based T&D product line is systematically designed to address the performance of the critical processes and is targeted to specific, primary target audiences.

Each critical T&D target audience has a T&D path or menu (depending on the nature of the job). T&D is pushed to these critical audiences, with many offerings mandated (for either participation or testing, or both).

The T&D products themselves are composed of core, shareable, and unique content objects to save overall life-cycle costs, reduce cycle times for development, and help “commonize” concepts, language, and models across the entire enterprise.

The chunking strategy used prior to development or acquisition also facilitates some needs of pull audiences, to even further generate return on investment.

At Omega, new T&D is brought on board on demand. The thousands of T&D offerings are posted on the corporate intranet to enable learners easy access with search capabilities.

There is no defined path or menu, as that was deemed too old style and command and control oriented. Each learner is faced with endless opportunities to learn whatever they each feel is important to their needs.

They are opportunity rich and overwhelmed.

5 O’clock System Summary
The three processes of the T&D Product and Service Line Design System are needed to define and architect or engineer the T&D product and service line in a very deliberate, systematic manner to ensure that the various stakeholders of the enterprise are served as optimally across the entire enterprise (or major business units) as the key leaders deem appropriate.

The three processes of this system are

  • 5.1: T&D Product and Service Line Program Management Process
  • 5.2: T&D Product Line Design Process
  • 5.3: T&D Service Line Design Process

The three processes within this system deliberately organize to and then analyze the needs of the enterprise for T&D products and services in a priority-driven manner, and then macrodesign the solution set of products and/or services to meet the needs of the enterprise.

There are simply too many needs, some with high-payback promise and many with low-, zero-, or negative-payback promise. The goal is to address the most critical needs first, and to never address many of the other, lower priority, lower payback needs.

Besides T&D products, there could be service offerings from the T&D system, such as performance improvement consultation, executive and manager coaching, mentoring, job redesign, etc.

The many processes of the T&D Product and Service Line Design System define and control the large-scale, business-critical T&D programs (multiproject), as well as the small-scale, individual projects/products to develop or acquire. These are the T&D products and services that are “by design” intended to be offered and rendered in the internal enterprise marketplace to key customer groups.

Every target audience will not necessarily get the focused treatment of the processes within the system of 5 o’clock—at least not if return on investment and economic value add are part of the allocation/decision process. Only the needs of “push” audiences should be resourced, and then are built to also meet some of the needs of “pull” audiences with low incremental cost.

The T&D Product and Service Line Design System’s processes also define the high-priority, critical T&D services that must be developed or acquired to support key customer strategies and tactics. Not every service provided to the enterprise by the T&D organization has to be strictly T&D oriented. The decisions made need to be conscious, business-oriented decisions, agreed to and approved by the T&D board of governors.

47 Processes in 12 Systems in 3 groupings of Leadership, Core, and Support.

This came from my 2001 book: T&D Systems View.

The book T&D Systems View is available as a free PDF at http://www.eppic.biz/

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