L&D: Push-Pull Knowledge Management Systems – Part 4

Push-Pull KMS – Stage 3: Initial KMS Content Development and Implementation

Link to Part 1 – here.

Link to Part 2 – here.

Link to Part 3 – here.

Note – this was written in 2000 for my former quarterly newsletter, and I’ve made only slight edits to it, including some new graphics, for posting here in 2018.

Push-pull KMS is a targeted versus all-inclusive approach to a performance improvement vehicle: the targeting, development and accumulation, synchronization, deployment, and maintenance of intellectual capital assets, focused on improving enterprise process performance via improved human asset performance.


In myview, KMS should exist within the enterprise to improve and/or protect the enterprise. The investments an enterprise will be required to make in KMS are for products, services, staff, and infrastructure.

And like any investment of enterprise resources, the capital and human energy put in should result in greater returns than the enterprise can get elsewhere. Return on investment—ROI. If KMS investments can’t generate a return equal to or better than investments made in the hundreds or thousands of other opportunity places/people/processes within its universe, then it shouldn’t get the capital and human energy it requests.

As a business owner (part-owner), I’ve got situations where I am involved in making decisions regarding literally hundreds of areas of process performance within the business where we could create or buy training or job aids, build databases and other tools, write detailed policies and procedures, create and administer performance-based certification tests, and track key data regarding each effort.

But should we? Often, “no” is the hard-nosed, reality-based, business-oriented, final decision. As a shareholder, I am happy with that decision.

Creating or buying T&D might cost more than just doing nothing and letting it occur via unstructured, on-the-job training (Unstructured-OJT).

Unstructured-OJT is where the performer-learner just figures it out, one way or another.

Sometimes the learner simply asks someone else or it becomes, upon inspection, self-evident. In our T&D consulting projects, we work with teams of master performers and often target specific performance and knowledge/skills, documented during the analysis efforts, for Unstructured-OJT during the subsequent design efforts.

In Addition

Oh, I’ve gotten a little push-back regarding this push-pull concept.

Usually it is seen afterward as a heated agreement overall, but I find myself speaking with others on totally different levels. I know this as we start, and I have found it difficult to get this push-pull past people’s paradigm of what push is (and who does the pushing) and what pull is (and who does the pulling).

When we promote push within this push-pull KMS model, we mean that the customer’s leadership pushes—not the T&D organization (or whoever is the function behind/supporting/leading KMS). It is the customer’s management/leadership that determines where their critical needs are, as facilitated by the KMS/T&D organization.

Then they demand the push and that creates the pull on the T&D system/processes in place to provide products and services. It is a customer-centric process facilitated by the supplier.

Déjà vu

In the push-pull KMS model I am promoting, that customer orientation is taken to the level of collaboration between customer and supplier, facilitated by the supplier but controlled by the customer.

This is much the same as i model in my PACT Processes for T&D, which themselves play a significant role in push-pull KMS as proven approaches for prioritizing targets of opportunity; conducting analysis; and chunking content for reuse, time and cost reduction, and performance impact.

In push-pull KMS, we are calling for a set of systems/processes to facilitate the collaboration of T&D customers and T&D suppliers, and then a targeted approach, not a blanketing approach.

Currently in T&D we are taught to think: don’t push products at customers, get them to pull. Market toward their real needs. Figure that out, and then “build it/them and they will come”—a T&D-flavored field of dreams.

Dream on. The critical needs of the enterprise to ensure the competence of certain people, in certain jobs, in certain processes, cannot be left to chance. KMS is one enabling response for enterprise leadership to employ, and it certainly needs to work in concert with many other enterprise systems/processes (HR, T&D, etc.). The enterprise simply cannot and should not attend to everyone’s needs. They cannot, without sacrificing the quality, impact, and return potential of the critical needs that really should be addressed. KMS needs are not all equal.

All I ask is that you judge every opportunity for each potential KMS product and service offering with an ROI measure. Do not get enamored with what it could be. Focus more on what it should be.

The following are the four stages of KMS/implementation:

  • Stage 1: KMS Business Case Development
  • Stage 2: KMS Process and Infrastructure Development/Deployment
  • Stage 3: Initial KMS Content Development and Implementation
  • Stage 4: Ongoing KMS Operations and Maintenance

This post picks up at Stage 3: Initial Content Development and Implementation.

Stage 3: Initial KMS Content Development and Implementation

I propose my PACT Processes for KMS content development. The following presents an overview of the PACT Processes as they apply to T&D and KMS. I see T&D as simply one of the many types of products a KMS makes available to users, and PACT can be used to build or buy KMS content.

PACT is an acronym.

P erformance-based

A ccelerated

C ustomer-/Stakeholder-driven

T raining & Development

PACT Processes Attributes

The PACT Processes for T&D are systematic, gated, collaborative approaches for ISD that are consistent with and reflective of many of the newer approaches and practices for managing the business processes of high-performing enterprises in a business-rational manner.

The PACT Processes

  • Are always in control from a schedule and budget perspective and are driven strategically by key line and executive management stakeholders.
  • Focus squarely on the knowledge and skill enablers required by performers within business processes.
  • Select the best mix of T&D deployment strategies, including the intranet/Internet, CBT, self-paced readings, videotapes, and audiotapes, as well as the most traditional approach: instructor-led classroom delivery.
  • Create a macrodesign for a modular, performance-based library of T&D while salvaging all previous investments assessed as worthy for reuse.
  • Enable prioritization for the gap T&D based on ROI, economic value added (EVA®), and criticality/impact to critical business processes and initiatives.
  • Greatly increase the shareability of the T&D Modules, thereby reducing the typical redundancy of the content produced separately for each audience and generating huge savings in first-time development costs, life-cycle maintenance costs, and ongoing development costs.

The three PACT Processes are Curriculum Architecture Design (CAD), Modular Curriculum Development (MCD), and Instructional Activity Development (IAD). They each operate at three distinct, different levels of ISD. Each is driven by the PACT Process analysis methodologies for Performance Modeling and Knowledge/Skill Analysis (see Phase 2 of each PACT Process model below).


Using a CAD-like Approach

CAD (Curriculum Architecture Design) is the macroprocess. It generates the overall, macro-, modular design for the entire T&D product line so that business decisions can be made as to which of the current gap T&D/KMS products should be developed/acquired and brought to market, and which of the current existing T&D products need maintenance. Both needs compete for the limited resources of the T&D/KMS organization.

The T&D products are referred to as T&D Events, and the T&D product subassemblies are referred to as T&D Modules. The CAD process has four phases and four key gates.

Using an MCD-like Approach

MCD (Modular Curriculum Development) is the midlevel process. It generates the T&D Modules and T&D Events of the CAD, consistent with the business priorities established in the CAD process. The macrolevel analysis and design work from the CAD is brought to the midlevels in MCD. The MCD process has six phases and four key gates.

Using an IAD-like Approach

IAD (Instructional Activity Development) is a special process that generates subassemblies or components of instruction including

  • Best practices
  • Performance/job aids
  • Electronic or paper desk procedures
  • Performance checklists
  • Simulation exercises
  • Knowledge tests
  • Performance tests (for pre- and posttesting and/or certification/qualification testing)
  • Case studies
  • Instructional content (at the awareness, knowledge, or skill level) via instructional activities, demonstration activities, and application activities

The midlevel analysis and design work from the MCD is brought to the microlevel in IAD. The IAD process has six phases and four key gates.

Key Roles and Responsibilities for Customer and Supplier Staff

Team Methodology

A number of methodologies are used throughout the PACT Processes; however, the most critical from both a quality and cycle time standpoint is the use of teams throughout all phases.

The use of appropriate company personnel on the designated project teams will ensure higher quality of both the project inputs and outputs. In addition, it will provide for a level of participation in the project activities that will create increased ownership of the results and more support for eventual implementation.

The project’s overall structure for key roles and the teams is as follows

  • Project Steering Team
  • Customer-side project manager
  • Supplier-side project manager
  • Analysis Team
  • Design Team
  • Development Team
  • Pilot-Test Team
  • ISD Team

Business Benefits of the PACT Processes for T&D

There are many business benefits to be derived from the adoption/adaptation of CADDI’s PACT Processes for T&D. The benefits are for your shareholders, your customers, your T&D staff, and your T&D suppliers/vendors. The key benefits are best summarized as follows.

  • Improved effectiveness of the T&D due to its focus on performance requirements within business processes
  • Reduced costs for first-time development and life-cycle maintenance due to the modular design concepts and frameworks already established and populated in the initial implementation projects
  • Reduced project cycle time and costs due to the use of predefined teams and roles/ responsibilities, phases and tasks, and templates for both project inputs and outputs

The PACT Processes provide you with the following:

  • A common, gated, in-control ISD process that engages the right personnel at the right time to do the right things; uses sound ISD principles; and frees up the time and energies of the ISD professionals to be creative instructionally and not forced to continually reinvent the ISD process or replan the project.
  • A blueprint for a modular T&D product line that leverages a design concept and methodology that specifies both the shareable and unique T&D Modules and Events. These Modules and Events allow the organizations’ key stakeholders to strategically place the T&D resource bets for the strategic and financial returns while enabling the sharing of content (modules and events), thereby reducing future development and maintenance cycle times and costs, as well as deployment costs.
  • The avoidance of analysis paralysis and the increased/unpredictable schedule and cost overruns due to a “jump in at the weeds level approach” where one needs to analyze everything at a detailed level, just in case it will be needed.
  • A top-down, systems engineering approach to the T&D product line, covering the entire enterprise, or key functions and job families, or key business processes and the key roles within, or a single function/job/role/task.

The PACT Processes for T&D and KMS

The PACT Processes tie everything together to ensure a systems approach to the performance-based T&D/KMS product line—content for the sake of business performance, ROI, and EVA.

The ultimate goal of the T&D and KMS is improved performance by the learners. That is how their impact is best measured. The PACT Process goals are to create this quality T&D/KMS in a reduced cycle time and at reduced costs.

Over the past 20 years, I have attempted to reduce to practice all of the prevailing ISD concepts, philosophies, methods, processes, and practices. My efforts have resulted in what I call the PACT Processes for T&D. They are equally applicable to KMS.

The four  components of the PACT Processes for T&D link together to create a powerful, lean-ISD methodology.

PACT Processes and the EC Arch

The PACT Processes for T&D and KMS include

  • PM & K/SA: Performance Modeling and Knowledge/Skill Analysis
  • CAD: Curriculum Architecture Design (KMS Product/Service Architecture)
  • MCD: Modular Curriculum Development (KMS Product/Service Development)
  • IAD: Instructional Activity Development
  • Project Planning & Management

The PACT Processes for T&D provide a proactive, strategic, leanISD approach to the development and deployment of performance-based/competency-based, traditional and nontraditional T&D interventions. These can meet the needs of a KMS effort.

The benefits to the organization for the adoption of the PACT Processes for T&D/KMS are increased quality and effectiveness of the product line, with both reduced cycle time and reduced life-cycle costs. Improvements in product quality, quantity, cost. Better, faster, cheaper.

Uploading into Your KMS Deployment Systems, Such as an LMS

Once your KMS products have been bought/built and pilot tested (as appropriate), they will need to be uploaded into your “knowledge warehouse” and linked to various systems such as

  • HRIS
  • ERP

In the next post, we will discuss Stage 4: Ongoing KMS Operations and Maintenance.

# # #

2 comments on “L&D: Push-Pull Knowledge Management Systems – Part 4

  1. Pingback: L&D: Push-Pull Knowledge Management Systems – Part 6 | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: L&D: Push-Pull Knowledge Management Systems – Part 5 | 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 )

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.