Project Planning an ISD Workstream within a Complex Initiative

When It Is Not Just About ISD
Let’s say your client’s request is for instructional design support for a major Initiative, with “many moving parts” as the saying goes – to suggest great complexity of the overall Initiative.

To clarify you ask if it’s for Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management support for project participants, performers involved in one way or another with the new processes of the initiative’s focus, or a combination of the two?

Just the people in the new processes and/or products that the Initiative is intended to address/create/resolve/improve, etc.

So it is somewhat simpler.

And you immediately start some parallel thought processes while interviewing about interweaving your ADDIE-like approach into the project plan framework of the overall Initiative. And you conclude that you need to determine both the framework and some specifics of the Initiative’s overall plan.

How many Phases/Stages/Etc. does their overall plan constitute?

How many other identified or unidentified workstreams are there within the Initiative?

You are trying to figure out when all other workstreams that you are dependant on for their outputs as your inputs, will be able to give you such.

Given that your own development phase’s needs include certain design outputs as inputs – and that your design phase’s needs include certain analysis phase outputs as inputs – and that the analysis phase ALWAYS benefits you have the overall plan well understood in terms of it’s purpose, goals, timeframes, roles/responsibilities, and resources/constraints – you know you can’t get very far without those early outputs as inputs.

What Can You Do About Deliberately Getting Ahead of Yourself – With Reduced Rework Later?
Can you take your ADDIE-like approach – or my MCD approach and work ahead? So that your workstream might itself be broken out into the following set of workstream…using my MCD framework versus the ADDIE version.

Then what can you do in each sub-workstream – or Phase – to get ready?

Here’s what I think – using my 6-Phase MCD model as my framework for this type of work…

Project Planning – here you can actually develop a PERT-like plan, using my “key activity” framework in the prior Blog Posting and earlier Posts as well. You can select and rough-schedule project participants and orient them to what’s known and what’s not yet know in the Initiative and in your workstream and what your project plan is beginning to look like. You can let everyone know to be on stand-by – and when to be on high-alert. And as that changes – provide them with updates.

Analysis – You can determine what you already know and don’t know about the 1- Target Audiences; 2- their Performance Requirements and a “gap forecast;” 3- the enabling knowledge/skills that will be required for those Target Audiences; and what existing training or other content might be needed as content or sources in our Development Phase, that we’d need to account for in the Design Phase.

Design – What major blends of media/deployment mode might we employee in the eventual design/ What would really work and what might not work, and always “why” to each set of questions once answered.

Development – Given what we might use in terms of media/deployment modes – what templates and existing content can we start to develop?

Pilot-Test – Can we plan who will be involved in our “formal Pilot-Test” or “just the first delivery” depending on your culture feels about formal pilot-testing versus just get on with the deliveries/availability/access. Can we set up the mechanics of the Pilot without knowing all of the specifics, dates, length of instruction, locations where the instruction meets the learners, if/how/when coaches might be employed, etc., etc.

Revision & Release – how will we handle continuous changes from the Initiative in case that what the future looks like in our situation? Can we set some of that up early, well before the Pilot-Test Phases?

After Getting As Ready As You Could
How and When you’ll be able to finish off the project planning efforts, or the analysis efforts leading to design leading to development, etc., is dependant on the “Sources” for your inputs. It’s their outputs that you need as your inputs…

So your next step as a Project Planner/manager-type is to figure out WHICH of those other Initiative workstreams you are dependant on – and then WHEN their outputs, your inputs, would be available. If that isn’t clear in the Initiative’s Plans and documentation – ask each workstream owner!

Then you can plan accordingly, using my MCD framework…

…or your own version of ADDIE!

For more see the many PACT Resources at

# # #

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.