Instructional Analysis Is A Subset of Performance Analysis

The Big Picture of EPPI

Instruction is but a subset of Performance in my view.

My “branded” model/framework/etc for all of this is:

EPPI – which is Enterprise Process Performance Improvement.

With 3 key “variable” sets:

  • The Process or Processes
  • The Environmental Asset Enablers
  • The Human Asset Enablers

Here’s the BIG picture if you will…


There are various ways to model/capture Processes and to derive the enablers … and any gaps from “good enough” or “better than good enough” or “always dependable” or SixSigma … or better yet NineSigma… etc. Those can be used to derive the enablers – so the more detail there – upstream – the better that derivation downstream will be.


It takes an understanding of all of the Stakeholders’ Requirements to understand the acceptability of your current performance. And it is a comparison with your competitors – any of your customers’ alternatives in getting their needs met – that drives your own Future State improvement goals. To look at current issues in meeting those current customer requirements/needs AND our own future improvement requirements/needs.

And then … as ROI and our limited resources to pursue performance improvement allow … the next task is to look to the upstream Enabler Systems – which is structured a little differently in every organization – and see what their process capabilities are versus the needs downstream. And for the gaps.

Here is my adaptation of the Ishikawa Diagram … I come at this all from a people perspective but not necessarily a people focus.

EPPI Fishbone 14 Variables

In my experience … it is the lack of a Process – or a faulty Process (poor design: too rigid, too flexible, not blended, etc.) that is at the root of the issue … most of the time. Not the Enablers … including the people. Not always – but most of the time. It is the Process. The variation in Results, in Outputs and Outcomes … is in the Process.

And certainly it – the Performance Issue or Future Goal Issue – is not often due to a lack of Knowledge/Skill of the Performers – where Learning & Development (L&D) comes in – to address only 1 of the 12 variables … in my version of the Ishikawa Diagram.

Unless it was “unclear expectations” – which is really at root in the Data & Information segment of this model…

EPPI Fishbone 14 Variables - Process

If the Process is OK – I would tend to next look at the Environmental Assets – to see what deficiencies exist there – and look upstream for the responsible supplier – internal and/or external.

And then I apply this very same model to them … to determine why they are deficient in meeting the downstream customers’ requirements. Look at their Processes, then their Environment Assets, and then their Human Assets.

EPPI Fishbone 14 Variables - EAs

Then – last – I would look to the Performers – and look at the 5 sets of variables – where 4 are in the control of the Recruiting & Selection System … and where ONLY 1 of these 5 and 1 of the overall 12 –  is in the control/realm of L&D.

EPPI Fishbone 14 Variables - HAs

L&D. or Learning, or Training, or Knowledge Management or whatever it is called in your Enterprise, addresses but 1 of 12 variables.

And most often/too often … L&D is asked/expected to affect too many with too much in too short an interval – and as a one-off.

Yeah, good luck with that. Check the metric of “negative ROI” for your scorecard results.

And asking L&D to fix problems in the Recruiting/Selection System is problematic.

Asking L&D to fix Process Definition MIAs is also problematic. As with fixing missing tools, Social Tools and/or more welders, etc., is also problematic.

We can suggest – if we have any credibility – or a Process that helps the client logically conclude something themselves – but we are not in a position to make decisions.

We can suggest a process and tool-set to do so for ourselves.

There are always many potential Solution-Set combinations in the typical Improvement effort – and L&D might be called upon to explain all of those and help people adapt to the new applications and climb the learning curve created by change better-faster-cheaper. But this issue typically doesn’t revolve around L&D.

L&D is a support organization. We don’t even own most Performance Support – if your idea of Performance Support might include replacing those shovels with bulldozers and backhoes. That might be more important and way better than any laminated Job Aids on every shovel.

PC at the Worker Work and Workplace levels

Book Resource

This book from 2011 covers my approach – developed in over 30 years experiences in helping my clients move purposefully – evolving – from Training – to Performance-based Training (L&D) – to Performance Improvement Consulting …

2011 f FTTPIC book cover

Paperback $15 and Kindle $7.50

From Training to Performance Improvement Consulting (2011) – as Paperback and Kindle

– a guide for a leadership team to take their Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management organization and Stakeholders on a 2-Step Journey from Training to Performance Improvement Consulting.

This book is part of my 2011 six-pack…

PACT 6 Pack

2 Free Resources – 2 PDFs

Modeling Mastery Performance and Systematically Deriving the Enablers for Performance Improvement – by Guy W. Wallace, CPT – Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology – 3rd Edition – 2006.

This methodology was first published in this 1984 article in ISPI’s (then NSPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal – in November 1984.

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