Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA)

Every organization owns a dynamic Learning Performance Ecosystem where the workforce learns and works by performing tasks by functional role. The most significant component of every ecosystem, regardless of business discipline, is where measurable business outcomes are generated –


While measurable business outcomes and value are generated at Point-of-Work there are several other outcomes not as desirable:

  • Delays and rework due to user errors and mistakes
  • Loss of key accounts or clients due to lack of responsiveness and delays
  • Poor service/product support due to lack of agility handling challenges
  • Exposure to business liability due to mistakes and noncompliance
  • Creation of material waste to to production errors
  • Turnover due to employee frustration due to improperly equipped to perform  

Obviously, there are other tangible negatives not listed here that impact the bottom line of any business; however, a consistent common denominator remains the same…

All of these losses manifest at or in proximity to Point-of-Work

If Point-of-Work represents ground zero for all positive and negative business outcomes, a logical conclusion points to adopting strategy and tactics that holistically assess current state performance and their root cause restrainers to pinpoint and road map solutions at the point where value is either created…compromised…or lost outright.

Current State Performance Benchmarks & Solution Road Maps require adoption of a


Road mapping L&D strategy, tactics and technology to address Point-of-Work Solutions requires holistic discovery to accurately identify current state performance gaps, challenges & causes. This discovery effort establishes accurate performance benchmarks and root cause performance restrainers critical to mapping recommendations that involve a blend of learning, support, and potentially technology-based solutions.

 Does your L&D team possess these enhanced
discovery, benchmarking, road mapping, and technology skills? 

The PWA represents a repeatable, scalable methodology designed to assess the interdependent moving parts (performance attributes) found within every ecosystem that enable or restrain performance at Point-of-Work. Following are three example scenarios where a PWA effort is appropriate:

  • Responding to individual training project requests targeting performance gaps
  • Addressing larger, enterprise-wide initiatives impacting workforce performance
  • Integration of new enterprise technology impacting processes and workflows
  • Assessing L&D team readiness to adopt a Point-of-Work Solution Discipline.

PWA benchmarking examines six categories of performance attributes that serve as Ecosystem Discovery Targets. See Figure 1 below. Note that traditional Training Needs Assessment (TNA) only addresses People/Capability attributes…in other words… only 1/6th of the learning performance ecosystem is assessed. The PWA methodology additionally addresses the other 5/6ths of the ecosystem.

Figure 1

These Ecosystem Categories are common denominators and cross-industry in nature; thereby making the PWA methodology industry.business-discipline agnostic.

Sample PWA Methodology – Training Initiative

  • Phase 1 – One-on-one or peer-level team engagement at senior leadership level having scope and authority to accomplish the following:
    • Executive level discussion to establish Point-of-Work strategic context and gain commitment to move forward.
    • Discuss current state performance alignment against existing goal expectations.
    • Provide top-view of known or suspected current state performance challenges and future challenges anticipated related to execution of the strategic plan.
    • Share vision of future state performance capabilities, major initiatives or transformations, technology migrations, etc.
    • Establish tactical prioritization and points of contact for subsequent, downstream PWA discovery interviews, focus groups and/or surveys.
  • Phase 2 – One-on-one or peer level mid-level/line management engagement having key functional stakeholder roles to accomplish the following:
    • Participate in discovery to address current state performance per functional role across relevant Attribute categories shown in Figure 1.
    • Provide root cause hypotheses behind current state performance challenges;  current steps taken toward mitigation; and results to date, if any.
    • Facilitate access to current state documented training content, business resources & information, and content ownership & maintenance protocols.
    • Facilitate observations of current training delivery sessions (if available) and/or access to relevant legacy training content.
    • Identify key individual performer roles and/or functional groups for subsequent discovery interviews, focus groups and/or surveys.
  • Phase 3 – One-on-one or peer level group forum interviews or surveys engaging Individual Contributors having key roles to accomplish the following:
    • Participate in discovery interviews to address current state per functional performance role across relevant Attribute categories targeted in Figure 1.
    • Demonstrate Instructor-led Training (ILT) and/or VILT if sessions scheduled available.
    • Share legacy training content across current state delivery venues.
  • Phase 4 – Strategist analysis of PWA findings for development of Recommendation Road Map to accomplish the following:
    • Solution prioritization based on Critical Business Issues (CBI) for incremental deployment and field testing/validation (pilot).
    • Detailed solution options for agile design and development of learning and performance assets.
    • Evaluation of Point-of-Work technology business requirements and readiness.

Staging for Strategic Re-Think

  • PWA is the first tactical step in adopting a strategic re-think – a reorientation from long-held, deeply-embedded traditions of our existing Training Paradigm that says training drives performance. Sadly, it does not. Training produces potential.
  • No real business value is generated, compromised or lost until the workforce has completed training and transitioned to their respective Points-of-Work.
  • The degree of competency achieved during training typically delivers knowledge necessary to pass final exams or demonstrate some level of proficiency in exercises. That level of competency is not a bad thing…it’s just not enough.
  • The journey to competency only begins with training,,,measurable business outcomes are not reached until the workforce successfully and consistently performs and efficiently and effectively overcome individual moments of need at Point-of-Work.  
  • The strategic re-think related to adopting a Point-of-Work Paradigm is not a transactional project…it’s a continuous dynamic discipline…as dynamic as the ecosystem it supports…and L&D competency is reached over time and experience while under live fire at Point-of-Work.

How Much Chaos Comes with PWA Adoption?

Successful adoption of PWA methodology is not a dramatic leap in skills and capabilities as much as it is willingness to see the entirety of the learning performance ecosystem through a Point-of-Work lens. There are two primary objectives:

  • First Objective – Use PWA discovery results to Change the Conversation and Shift Expectations beyond a default training solution using current state performance restrainers confirmed across the learning performance ecosystem. See Figure 2 below. Note that “Training” represents only a fraction of the attributes within the People/Capability category; therefore in this example, the transfer of knowledge and skills is contributing less than 20% of the performance issues.

Change Conversation
Figure 2

  • Second Objective – A blended Recommendation Road Map to facilitate collaboration among the Strategist role and the ID/DEV team for finalizing a detailed design. The PWA promotes 7-Right Things (See Figure 3 below) while preserving compatibility with existing agile design methodologies like:
    • ApplySynergy’s 5 Moments of Need
    • 70:20:10
    • Allen Interaction’s Successive Approximation Methodology (SAM). 

7-Right Things
Figure 3

Should Your Team Adopt the PWA Methodology?

If your best training efforts are not consistently sustaining measurable workforce performance results at Levels 3 & 4, the answer is an emphatic YES!  

What Skills Do We Need?

PWA is a methodology leveraging a performance consulting skill set – a performance strategist role capable of discovery at the operational level in the ecosystem is often a common role addition. This is not rocket science so anyone with a little business savvy with solid questioning skills should be a great candidate.

Are We Ready or Are We at Readiness?

There is a significant difference between being ready and being at a state of readiness, and the PWA methodology is the perfect tool to assess L&D readiness to begin the journey. An HPO Strategist will complete the assessment and help plan a strategy for adoption.

If We Are Interested?

Click Contact to initiate an exploratory conversation!