I’ve been using teams in Instructional Design efforts since 1979. Here is a former Blog Post about my experience in a team approach back in the day.
When I became the practice leader for ID/ISD efforts at SWI – Svenson & Wallace Inc. in the early 1980’s I needed to formalize and standardize my ISD methods and processes for my consulting staff for training & certifying them before we would let them plan and lead projects for our clients. This would improve our overall efforts, reduce variations between consultant efforts, and make our projects more predictable in terms of quality, time (touch and cycle) and costs. And teaming would help accelerate projects – always important to clients when they brought in external resources to get a job done.
Using PACT Teams
The PACT Processes are accelerated partially due to their use of teams with predefined roles and responsibilities. Individuals and teams with agreed-to accountabilities are a critical element in the planning and management of the PACT Processes for T&D. While a successful T&D development project is dependent on the quality of the Project Plan, it is critical to have the right people to do the right things at the right time, according to plan.
The Use of Teams
The PACT Processes’ structure spells out the teams and roles necessary to ensure the right people handle everything at the right time in the process. In general, the same types of teams are used within Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, and Instructional Activity Development.
The major teams formed during a PACT Process project include
- Project Steering Team
- Analysis Team
- Design Team
- Development Team
- Pilot-Test Deployment Team
- ISD Team
In addition, two other team concepts may be used.
- Analysis Review Teams
- Design Review Teams
Of course, there are a variety of roles on each of these teams. Those roles are covered in the discussions of the individual teams.
Arguably the most important team in a PACT project is the Project Steering Team, composed of customers and other key stakeholders. The most critical step of Phase 1 within any one of the PACT Processes is recruiting, organizing, and communicating with the Project Steering Team. The successful selection and organization of Project Steering Team members leads to the ability to communicate collectively with them regarding the project.
Project Steering Team members, in turn, carefully consider and then select all of the other individuals for staffing the rest of the project’s roles.
The three main PACT design processes―Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, and Instructional Activity Development―vary slightly in the way they use teams. Figure 29.1 identifies teams that play critical parts in the PACT Processes.
The Project Steering Team
The Project Steering Team is typically responsible for
- “Owning” the project
- Reviewing the Project Plan and directing the project
- Selecting all participants for later phases of the project
- Reviewing and providing feedback for all project documents and outputs
- Establishing development/acquisition priorities
- Approving or redirecting the Implementation Plan
The project manager uses the Project Steering Team to test ideas and obtain sanctioning for all project activities via the gate review meetings. The members of the Project Steering Team review, debate, and challenge the Project Plan. Team members also assist in making available the human resources data and other data needed to conduct the project. In addition, they select all of the other PACT team members.
Project Steering Team roles and responsibilities are similar in Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, and Instructional Activity Development. In each case, the team is composed of members who have a stake in the outcomes and process for conducting the PACT Process project. And in each case, the most important role on the Project Steering Team is that of chairperson.
The Project Steering Team Chairperson
In general, the Project Steering Team chairperson is the logical owner of the project, the person with responsibility and accountability for making change happen. This person will possibly be evaluated by his or her management based on the success of the project. (Organizational etiquette suggests that the PACT project manager, the planner of the process leading to that success or failure, must understand how score is kept for the client.)
The Project Steering Team chairperson is the key customer/stakeholder interface and helps identify all other key stakeholders that should be involved in the project. Early in the project, this person provides key input for the development of the Project Plan.
The Project Steering Team chairperson also helps identify other individuals that he or she thinks may be necessary to involve in the conduct of the project. They, too, should be engaged up-front. Many of these key stakeholders may be the future members of the Project Steering Team.
Project Steering Team Members
Project Steering Team members nominally include key leaders of the organizations within the scope of the project. To accomplish its tasks, the Project Steering Team must be composed of the highest level individuals who may benefit from or be affected by the project. The goal is not to get the company CEO on the project, but to get other people with the right authority levels and interest― those with authority to prioritize and then provide dollars and people for the follow-on T&D projects. But in addition to authority, the project manager wants the participation of stakeholders. The project manager wants those with something at stake in the outcomes of the T&D project; those who will have to live with the consequences of doing nothing, doing the wrong thing, or doing the right thing. Those with something at stake could include customers of a process; suppliers; and support organizations such as information systems, field operations, human resources, etc
In selecting candidates for the Project Steering Team, the general rule is to determine who might come forward sometime during the project and question or take exception to what is happening. Better to invite them on day one to have their say and attempt to influence the Project Steering Team. Having them join the fray two months into the project is never ideal.
If a project hits close to their home, candidates who are true stakeholders might be so intrigued by the thought and structure of the planned effort that they might be willing to participate―if they see a return for their investment. Maybe they’ll need to delegate participation. But the goal is to bring in representatives of all key groups!
How many members are on a Project Steering Team? The fewer members, the faster things may move. The more members, the less likelihood any one individual can negatively influence the project. It’s a balancing act.
Establishing a formal Project Steering Team ensures that key stakeholders “buy in” to the Project Plan politically, that it makes business sense, and that the outputs and planned tasks will be supported during and after the project. The Project Steering Team handpicks all other team members, and that goes a long way to ensuring that the outputs produced by those teams have credibility. That is extremely important because the volume of data in the outputs produced makes it problematic that the Project Steering Team will be able to do a thorough review. Besides, it’s better to build in quality early than to attempt to inspect it in later.
I will follow up with an additional post or two on the other teams involved in PACT – or any ISD methodology soon.
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