Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA)

Every organization owns a dynamic Learning Performance Ecosystem where the workforce learns and works to perform 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 liability and safety concerns due to mistakes and noncompliance
  • Creation of material waste due to production errors
  • Turnover due to employee frustration due to being 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 logistics, 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 four example scenarios where applying PWA methodology is appropriate:

  • Assessing L&D team readiness to adopt a Point-of-Work Solution Discipline.
  • 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

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 a portion of the 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 business-discipline and industry agnostic.

Sample PWA Methodology – L&D Team Readiness 

  • 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 anticipated future challenges 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 group 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.
    • Define current state training methodologies, availability and access to business resources & information, information curation, distribution & archival protocols, training 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.
    • Identify current talent development opportunities and continuous improvement initiatives.
  • 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.
    • Review current assessment tactics and needs analysis methods.
    • Observe Instructor-led Training (ILT) and/or VILT if sessions scheduled available.
    • Degree of sharing legacy training content across current state delivery venues.
    • Degree of integration of performance assets and performance insights in formal training content and 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 sufficient 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 overcomes 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 default training solutions 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 only contributes something less than 20% to impacting performance issues.

Change Conversation
Figure 2

  • Second Objective – A blended Recommendation Solution Road Map to facilitate collaboration among the Strategist role and the ID/DEV teams for finalizing detailed design. The PWA promotes integration of 7-Right Things (See Figure 3 below) that inform intentional design guidelines 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! The concept of enabling continuous learning is rapidly gaining traction; however, the continuity of learning opportunities are accelerating closer to…if not within…active workflows. Workflows are outside the scope of our existing training paradigm and the need to assess the entirety of the dynamic learning performance ecosystem. This leaves us with a new ground zero – Point-of-Work

What Skills Do We Need?

PWA is a methodology leveraging performance consulting discovery skills. Creation of a performance strategist role capable of assessment at the operational level in the ecosystem is often a common role/skill addition. The PWA is not rocket science, so anyone with a little business savvy with solid questioning and active listening skills have the potential to make great candidates.

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 road map a strategy for adoption.

What Are Our Next Step Options?

HPO has just completed and successfully shared our first PWA Workshop & Coaching intervention. Check out Engagement Options details on PWA Readiness Assessments for L&D and a brief overview of a custom PWA Worshop & Coaching options. For further clarification and discussion a free virtual overview presentation of Point-of-Work and the supporting Workshop, please use the link below.

If We Are Interested?

Click Contact to initiate an exploratory conversation!

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