Areas of Performance – Framing "Ideal" Performance

When modeling performance, it is critical to establish good Areas of Performance (AoPs) up-front in the process. The AoPs create a configuration—an organizing scheme for the performance data that will be captured on Performance Model (PM) charts.

There are many means/paths to the ends of AoP creation. You, the analyst, can create them based on your interviews and observations, or you can facilitate an Analysis Team in creating them. It depends on your desire to have your customer really own the AoPs versus you the supplier owning the configuration. As long as I can use it for my downstream needs, I would rather that my customers own the configuration of their performances! It is their world we are trying to capture.

The example above is a set of AoPs for an account representative (salesperson) for the American Boat & Canoe Company (the ABC Company – one of my standard “case companies” used to present models/demos/etc.). Based on a real project from back in the mid-1980s – and modified a bit.

The goal of AoPs is to create a “home room” for all data – analysis data – that covers to “scope of the assignment” and results in no (or minimal) gaps and overlaps in the view of performance. To save redundancy/extra work (that is un-necessary). Overlaps will occur in the listing of enabling knowledge/skills that will be derived from this view of “ideal” Performance. And that is a good thing!

Below are some examples from “kid jobs” from my personal past…as examples that perhaps some of you can relate to…and perhaps will lead you to “play around” with some of your past summer/kid jobs. The “acid test?” Every task/step you performed fits into one of the AoPs – with zero overlaps and gaps.

I dropped out of HS Gymnastics to make some “gas/cruising money” as a teenager, and worked at the Jewel Food Store in Park Forest IL in the suburbs of Chicago in 1968 – back in the days of 29 to 34 cents a gallon…whre my minimum wage job earned me 90 cents an hour to start with a 10 cents raise after my probation period…

Earlier in my professional development I delivered the South Bend Tribune while living in LaPorte Indiana…

Weekly I collected 35 cents a week for the 7 days of newspapers deliverd to your doorstep or “inside the screen door” for a few customers (the squeaky wheels on my route). For that I made 8 cents a week per customer. I had 72 customers. $5.76 per week for 6 afternoon deliveries and one early Sunday morning delivery. Routine “10 cent tips” by a few of my customers “made my week” so to speak! Winning a couple of subscrition drive contests took me by bus with dozens of others to see the Chicago White Sox play (took my mitt) and dinner in Chicago’s China Town. Then the long bus trip back to north-western Indiana, mitt in hand and new cap on my head.

But I digress.

The use of kid jobs/summer jobs is a device I use in training/development sessions with PACT analysts in training. They are often much more simple than adult jobs – making it a bit easier to focus on learning the approach to frame ideal Performance – leading then to a gap analysis – and then deriving the enablers of that ideal Performance…for a job, a team, a department, a cross-functional team or a function.

Note that these examples don’t follow any strict “wording” protocols. No “Noun-Verb” pattern such as Reports Generated. Why? Because the target audience of performers don’t label their work that way. If I see things such as AoPs worded that way – it is immediately clear WHO owns this configuration of analysis data. And then I need to be wary. Because this is the “view of work” of an analyst – and not of a team of Master Performers – who came to consensus regarding their world of performance. Which would you trust more, given that neither may be “perfect?”

The book that covers this…and cover all of the roles/tasks of the PACT Practitioners – lean-ISD…from 1999…

Available as a free 404-page PDF at For your guided, informal learning. Cover design and art work by Geary A. Rummler, PhD, CPT.

Plus there are many additional resources available on that site for Performance Modeling and other aspects of PACT and EPPI methodologies – both of which use the Performance Model as the anchor for other analyses.

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