The PACT Interview Guide – For Conducting the Initial Client & Stakeholder Interviews in Preparation for Detailed Project Planning

The first thing a PPM – PACT Project Manager does in a project cycle, or a potential project cycle, is to conduct interviews of the Customer-Client/Requester and all other key stakeholders, in order to gather the data needed to rough out a draft, detailed Project Plan.

Form follows function – or – begin with the end in mind!

That draft Project Plan is prepared for a quick review with the Client/Customer, then updating that Plan draft as needed, and then conducting a formal review with the recruited PST – Project Steering Team in the first of 4 GRM – Gate Review Meetings.

Because even if you don’t know whether this Initial Request will end up as a CAD or MCD or IAD effort, each typically has 4 GRMs. Unless you’ve been doing a lot of business with this Client, and you’ve removed some of the more formal process steps in PACT for many – but not all – of your project efforts. As it was meant to be.

As PACT proscribes its Plan format and content – it is easy to “back out” the questions needed for their answers needed for the Plan template’s editing.

In PACT the Project Plan has two components, the narrative section and the Task-Time-Schedule Charts (or just: Task Charts).

Note that the Project Plan also might have a Proposal document associated with it.

In that way the Project Plan can be circulated to everyone – and the Proposal with any $ references, terms & conditions, etc., can be held separately by those needing that information – because not everyone on a project needs to be in those weeds.

The detailed Task Charts are built upon a common approach – as adapted from PACT’s original and “all-in” task listings from the book: lean-ISD’s appendices sections A and B.

How the PPM got to that adaptation is covered in this earlier Blog Post.

The Project Plan template for project “Activity Blocks” is presented next…

and that same earlier Post.

If one can begin to see the patterns in PACT methods as “Activity Blocks” then one can better plan the appropriate adaptations, as informed by the Client, the Stakeholders, and the PPM’s own keen instincts – instincts for survival and success.

“You either Plan for Success or you Plan for Failure.”

And another of my favorites: No plan is still a plan. But not a very good plan.

Oh- and as with “all things PACT” – you’ll probably need to do some adaptation to the PACTool: Customer/Stakeholder Interview Guide.

The PACT “Alpha Phase” Customer/Stakeholder Interview Guide

The Guide should help the PPM in “eliciting answers” in Sync with the Project Plan’s content.
Purpose/Background –

Project Overview –

Deployment – and – Development –
Scope – Deliverables – Approach – Roles –




Task Planning –

Project Cost Planning –
…more Cost Planning…

Pitfalls in Planning
A major mistake in many ISD projects is that participants are in such a hurry to get the projects done, they fail to plan and organize to get them done right—that is, to produce a high-quality training product on time and within budget.

In such a project, perhaps the ISD professionals are in a hurry and don’t take the time to plan.

Perhaps the customers are in a hurry, or they don’t value plans and planning.

Or perhaps previous planning efforts turned out poorly and everyone learned that planning, especially detailed planning, is a big waste of time and energy because plans always change.

Perhaps those plans, detailed or not, changed frequently because they were not good plans in the first place.

Maybe the tasks listed were incomplete and certain inevitable to-dos were not correctly anticipated.
Maybe cycle times were too idealistic.

Maybe key participants had their schedules interrupted by other projects and critical-path task deadlines were blown.

So maybe now everyone shies away from planning, especially detailed planning where key milestones are scheduled and visible.

Perhaps the way to run an ISD project successfully is to avoid explicit expectations of time, cost, and quality. That way unrealistic expectations don’t come back to haunt project participants.
I think that that is a bad place to be: Without a plan – or a common, well understood, articulated/documented approach to project conduct. Unless you are just running a factory-line approach to cranking out content – you probably have situational adjustments to make yourself, one project to the next.
For more on this “PACT Project Planning” topic and for a list of the typical issues to be “potentially planned for – as your situation dictates or not – see chapter 28 of…

lean-ISD (1999) as a Free PDF

Click on image to link to the PDF download page.

Note: the cover design for “lean-ISD” was created by the late Geary A. Rummler.

Note: Guy W. Wallace’s book “lean-ISD” – was a recipient of a 2002 Award of Excellence for Instructional Communication from the International Society for Performance Improvement.

lean-ISD is also available as a $15 paperback book – and $7.50 as a Kindle – for more and to order – please go – here.

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5 comments on “The PACT Interview Guide – For Conducting the Initial Client & Stakeholder Interviews in Preparation for Detailed Project Planning

  1. Pingback: T&D: Detailed Project Plans for ISD Efforts | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: L&D: No Plan Is a Plan | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: My Site’s Top 30 Posts/Pages Since 2007 | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  4. Pingback: house | The PACT Interview Guide For Conducting The Initial Client | Home design

  5. Pingback: The CAD Project Plan Template and Link to the PACT Interview Guide « EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

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