This snippet from the Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA) Workshop is unique because the attributes associated with WORKFLOWS & PROCESSES follow two parallel tracks. The first track relates to understanding relevant task-centric, role-specific work attributes that either drive or restrain productivity and performance at multiple Points-of-Work from the Knowledge Worker’s experiences and perspectives. The second track relates to restraining impacts to productivity and performance that surface at Moments of Need and within workflows at Points-of-Work that call for five additional Performance Outcomes owned and implemented by L&D. These Outcomes are similar yet unique based upon the nature of the engagement intervention. Sound disruptive? Maybe it’s time to toss the cookie cutter…
Evolved L&D Performance Outcomes
Both Knowledge Worker and L&D perspectives are represented in Figure 1. Despite Task-Centric; Role-Specific being the only component aligned with the Knowledge Worker’s slice of the Ecosystem in this graphic, the other five align with L&D and all reflect outcomes back to enabling and accelerating productivity and performance by our Knowledge Workers within their respective Points-of-Work.
Using the PWA methodology, we are well beyond the scope of traditional Training Needs Assessments. The PWA is actually the first phase of adopting a Learning Performance Paradigm, and as such, there are WORKFLOWS & PROCESSES specific to L&D that must evolve to match the evolved scope critical to optimizing the Learning Performance Ecosystem where our Knowledge Workers learn and execute Task-centric; Role-specific work.
There are six Performance Outcomes related to WORKFLOWs & PROCESSES. Of these six, L&D has five of them requiring development of in-house capabilities to address. The outcomes do not necessarily represent discreet roles, and several may be assigned to existing role responsibilities. Following are WORKFLOWs & PROCESSES specific to L&D functions:
- Assess root causes restraining productivity and performance at Point-of-Work
- Develop road maps for learning performance solution to inform subsequent design efforts
- Collaborative support of intentional, agile design/development of Moment of Need/Point-of-Work asset solutions
- Maintain currency of learning performance asset integrity and accessibility
- Define access, recommend, and manage Moment of Need access to and/or delivery of Point-of-Work solution assets
1 – Task-Centric & Role-Specific Workflows & Processes – Knowledge Worker Focus
Workflows & Processes that directly generate [or compromise] tangible business value by our workforce of Knowledge Workers are characterized by assorted TASKS and assigned by different ROLES. Cat herding comes to mind almost immediately because of the diversity of moving parts. The implied solution for L&D requires us to compartmentalize by priority where we target the greatest business risk and/or determine where the greatest reward is to be found…and then build learning performance solutions to overcome or achieve them. Then? Rinse & Repeat on each subsequent priority until the effort to overcome or achieve becomes more expensive than the return on the solution results.
All of this task & role level assessment focuses on Point-of-Work – What are the challenges embedded during workflows? What roadblocks restrain existing processes? What distractions interrupt workflows? Etc.
2 – Prioritization & Assessment
This segment is a primary L&D responsibility in the execution of the PWA methodology. The skill set requires a degree of business acumen/savvy and business awareness essential in handling discussions and interviews with operational stakeholders at multiple levels. Typically, this role requires skills found in Performance Consultants and/or Performance Strategists.
The objectives in this phase target where to begin based on greatest impact…where “greatest impact” is stakeholder-defined in terms of exposure to business loss, liability, delay, material waste, or other anomalies affecting bottom-line results.
3 – Solution Road Map Development
The Road Mapping responsibility belongs to the L&D Consultant/Strategist who summarizes the sources of restraining attributes impacting productivity and performance. The six categories of PWA attributes assessed by the L&D Consultant/Strategist and validated with the operational stakeholder(s) are then articulated in a visual representation that highlights restrained productivity and performance sources by contribution percentages defined by root cause(s).
Discovery details from identified root causes revealed in the PWA serve as source input that inform subsequent collaborative design discussions. The Road Map supports a different conversation critical to a shift in thinking from Training as the exclusive solution to Learning Performance solutions applied at Moments of Need and within workflows found at the Point-of-Work.
4 – Collaborative Intentional Design
The Solution Road Map serves as the source document from which the Consultant/Strategist collaborates with Instructional Design and Development resources to apply whatever agile design methodologies they have adopted. Depending on the complexity of deficient performance revealed in the PWA, a deeper dive into WORKFLOWS & PROCESSES using an agile design methodology like the Five Moments of Need (5MoN) is executed. The PWA is not a design methodology like 5MoN; rather, PWA serves as a front-end diagnostic intended to identify where a methodology like 5MoN should be utilized for solution design. In short, PWA informs 5MoN design decisions where the intentions are focused on specific assets for accelerating productivity and performance by closing gaps at affected Points-of-Work.
The primary drivers for intentionally designed assets include:
- Accessibility at the Moment of Need
- Relevance to identified tasks within the WORKFLOW
- Effectiveness at the Moment of Need and the Point-of-Work
- Sustainability post-development and after insertion into the ecosystem
The PWA enables definition of learning performance assets characterized by 7-Right Things:
- Right Access for the…
- Right Knowledge Workers at the…
- Right Time and in the…
- Right Amount and in the…
- Right Format to/from the…
- Right Technologies to provide the…
- Right Evidence of Impact at Point-of-Work
These 7-Right Things are foundational to Learning Performance Solution assets regardless of the agile design methodology utilized.
5 – Solution Asset Management
Managing and maintaining learning performance assets after development and deployment can easily become the tail that wags the dog. Intentionally designed assets vary from training-specific content…to stand-alone performance support…to performance insights enabling critical-thinking…to social interaction and collaboration opportunities. Given these assets are not always destined for formal training, we must consider several things regarding their application at the Moment of Need. Questions that require answers including:
- Where are the assets reposited?
- What taxonomy metadata are attached to enable efficient search?
- Who owns the assets and the responsibility to maintain currency?
- How are tracking asset utilization analytics accomplished?
- How are updates and/or new assets communicated to the Knowledge Workers?
6 –Solution Access & Application
As described in the 7-Right Things, characterizing intentional design positions ACCESS as the most critical. As an example, if the Knowledge Worker experiences delays related to gaining access at their moment of need; the rest of the right things matter little, and productive time is wasted. Decisions we make on what the right access should entail become a function of the urgency to perform efficiently and effectively at the Point-of-Work and to minimize risk and compromised performance.
The 7-Right Things also include a design concept that optimizes effective application at the Moment of Need and described as:
- Just Enough – the right amount designed intentionally for task-level application
- Just-in-Time – the right time…the right Moment of Need…minimizing delays
- Just for Me – the right Knowledge Worker…personalized by role responsibility
Clearly, the Knowledge Worker must have access privileges to reach the assets via the right technology that streamlines the effort. This means Training for the Knowledge Worker shifts to include recognizing what assets are available…where they reside…when, why, and how to access them…and how to apply them effectively are essential. It’s safe to say part of formal learning should include experiential activities intentionally designed to practice accessing and applying these assets utilizing embedded content and/or within simulated activities where successful application resolves common Moments of Need.
Application of these assets is indeed important; how the application is facilitated; how the effectiveness at Point-of-Work is measured; and analytical details of utilization are tracked must also be part of solution design and delivery. Answering questions like:
- Are the assets pushed or pulled” or both? What are the triggers to push/pull?
- To what extent should the assets become embedded into formal learning opportunities?
- Does the technology exist to enable Moment of Need access?
- What metrics serve as viable evidence of impact to render level 3 & 4 impact?
- How are asset and technology utilization and performance analytics tracked & reported?
As you can see, the WORKFLOWS & PROCESSES attributes assessed in the PWA have implications to not only the Knowledge Worker’s work environment, but the engagement and immersion of L&D decisions regarding solution design and post-deployment support. I think it safe to say L&D WORKFLOWS & PROCESSES run in parallel with those facing the workforce. I also think it safe to say that L&D should undergo a PWA Readiness Assessment prior to pursuing adoption. New assessment, new skills, new technology all imply change to status quo paradigms, and there is risk in confusing “ready to change” with “readiness to change”.
Once again, I want to emphasize that the PWA Methodology is not a design model nor a development tool; rather, PWA is a front-end diagnostic discipline that informs the deeper dive completed during detailed solution design phases where agile design tools and tactics are applied. PWA provides a road map that identifies what rocks to look under…not the details of what’s under them. Don’t consider that wasted motion; rather, the effort prevents wasted motion build solutions for symptom and missing root causes altogether.
PWA methodology deliverables facilitate different conversations we must have with operational stakeholders to position that their well-intended training requests and our subsequent training solutions may only partially address the productivity and performance challenges they face. Remember, the paradigm we’ve so successfully sold positions that training will drive performance. THAT conversation must change. Training may or may not be a viable solution. It’s our job to make that distinction and doing so shifts our role to one of becoming a true business partner as opposed to running an efficient drive-through window operation where orders are quickly filled…and with a side of fries.
WORKFLOWS & PROCESSES truly represent the most relevant ecosystem attributes where delays, wasted motion, errors, mistakes, uninformed decisions, and…and…and…take place. It would be a mistake for us to only consider zeroing in exclusively on such a narrow segment of what a dynamic learning performance ecosystem represents and requires for optimization.
Thanks again for reading. As always, I welcome thoughts, comments, ideas, and/or push-back as you are so moved.
Take good care!
Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Advocate, Coach, Speaker
Web: Living In Learning