L&D: Killing Analysis Paralysis

Are You Just Skipping Analysis Paralysis?

Or just slimming it down? Analysis efforts.

Has Analysis become just too predictably unpredictable in terms of the quality of the data and decisions produced, the cycle time and all the touch times of everyone involved, and all of the direct and indirect costs?

So you gloss over it or just plain skip it? Analysis that is.

It just wasn’t worth the time and money.


It’s been taking way-too-long and just getting-in-the-way for the just-do-it reality you face?

So you jump right into design, or worse, right into development … and usually without a predictable plan. Just all noses to the grindstone and wailing away.

Wondering why there is so much rework. So many false starts.

IMO it would be the project planning and analysis segments, of the work that you do, that are suspect. Per my model below.

MCD 6 Phases

Although “analysis” is done in each and every phase in the model above, in the Analysis Phase, I call out 4 distinct types of analysis.

  1. Target Audience
  2. Performance
  3. Enabling Knowledge/Skills
  4. Existing T&D Assessment

These can all be done quickly, but, to borrow from a current lawn mower commercial:

It’s not how fast you do Analysis – it’s how well you do Analysis fast.

3 Key Keys IME

In My Experience – and I’ve been doing this Enterprise T&D/L&D thing since 1979 – and as a consultant since 1982 – that most L&D organizations have three major issues.

1- They do not have a standard process – or sets of processes – that they have improved upon over successive projects that they can use as is or after modification.

2- They cannot get the right people to participate in the effort in the right sequence for data generation and data reviews and the differences expressed by the individual SMEs involved are not quite understood by the ISDer – Instructional Systems Designer – that is uncovering what many in the target audience’s Performance Context all already understand – or think they do – as everyone expresses themselves differently about the work, the processes, the potential problems and avoidance strategies and recovery tactics if unavoidable.

And then there are the reviews of all of that. And updates and reviews. And more updates and reviews.

And 3- The predictable but not predicted tasks overwhelm those expected to do the work – and schedules are missed, etc.


Here are some quick thoughts about this – and links to some of my resources.

Use a Lean Process 

I use a standard process, laid out in great detail, step-by-step, in almost every book I’ve published on ISD – Instructional Systems Design – including “lean-ISD” – which is available as a free PDF here and a paperback book here. Or a Kindle here.


Here are my key ISD processes in graphic form.

It might start at CAD, most logically. But an MCD or IAD effort could have preceded the CAD effort.

CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design


This effort produces a modular Learning Path – or a – modular Development Path. From which numerous T&D or L&D Plans are produced for individuals. It also identifies the ideal, the actual, and the gaps for development and/or acquisitions. Those efforts happen in MCD and IAD efforts, downstream from CAD efforts.

MCD – Modular Curriculum Architecture


I can do a complex job “Analysis” in less than 2 weeks – including the documentation and review with a Project Steering Team.

Analysis can happen quickly if the inputs, resources and outputs are known in advance.

And the process.

Use a Group Process

Bring all the people who know the real work application – the Tasks and the sub-Topics – together and detail what is needed for downstream intents – as a group. I’ve been doing this since 1979/1980.


This is covered in many of my articles and books and blog posts.

Use a Dedicated Team 

To plan, schedule, prep for, conduct and document the work. And conduct the reviews of the data and to facilitate the decisions of the PST – Project Steering Team – as they review the work the ISD Work Team (or whatever they call themselves) did with the Master Performers and Other SMEs in the Analysis Team, Design Team, and Development Teams, and, as appropriate, the Pilot Test Teams.


The ISD Work Team is your team of internal consultants, external consultants, and staff needed to execute your work Processes.

And … You Can Do This In All Other, Non-Analysis Phases and Tasks

The same approach of using dedicated people in teams with well defined work processes and practices can be applied to all of the other non-Analysis Phases/efforts.


Your models and labels may vary. Mine are framed by the graphic below.

My approach, is – as rigorous as required and as flexible as feasible – is adaptable. By Design.


  • For Free: Book PDFs – several books offered as free PDFs – and please note: most are also available “for sale” in either hardbound and/or paperback versions.

Other Resources are available here.

# # #

One comment on “L&D: Killing Analysis Paralysis

  1. Pingback: Sourcing Guidance for Instruction and Not Just Ideating It Into Being | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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.