Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Three Process Mapping Tools

Process Mapping is a method of recording the elements of a process in order to gain a better understanding of the steps, people, and variance involved. In this blog I will look at three types of process maps:

1) Swim Lane flowchart
2) Conversion mapping
3) PACT Performance Modeling

Swim Lane Flowchart

A Swim Lane Flowchart breaks a process down into sub-processes and sorts each sub-process into categories. Each sub-process is sorted vertically or horizontally into rows by the group or person responsible  for its performance. To create a Swim Lane Flowchart, first identify the people or groups responsible for the process and set up horizontal or vertical lanes (see example below). Identify the outcome of the process... what is being produced. Identify the stimulus to begin the process, then fill in the process from the stimulus to the outcome. See example below:

Swim Lane Flowchart

Conversion Mapping

Another way to map a process is by using Conversion Mapping. Conversion Mapping is less detailed than Swim Lane Flowcharts, but allows you the opportunity to identify variance at each sub-step. The process is similar to creating a Swim Lane Flowchart except there is no space to identify identify who is responsible for each sub-step. After identifying each sub-step, identify the inputs and outputs. In the example below, the outputs from many of the sub-steps are also inputs for the next step. One benefit a Conversion Map has over a Swim Lane Flowchart is that you can identify Variance for each Input and Output. Identifying Variance is helpful if you are looking to improve the process.

Conversion Map

PACT Performance Modeling

PACT stands for "Performance-based Accelerated Customer/Stakeholder driven Training and Development of any blend." PACT is Guy Wallace's performance improvement system of which his Performance Model is a part. Guy's Performance Model is outlined in detail on his blog, here.

PACT Performance Model

Final Thoughts

The Swim Lane Flowchart is a great way to visualize the process and the people/groups involved. The problem I see with the Swim Lane Flowchart is that they do not provide a way to identify variance within a process, therefore they are limited in application.

Conversion Mapping is a great way to visually display the entire process and variance for each input and output within the process. However, unlike the Swim Lane Flowchart, Conversion Mapping does not identify the people or groups involved in each sub-step.

I see the Performance Model as a combination of the Swim Lane Flowchart and the Conversion Map. You identify the Output and sub-steps within the process, and then under the roles and responsibilities columns you identify the groups or people involved. Then under the "Typical Performance Gaps" column you identify the variance. And then, as Billy Mays would say "But Wait, There's More!" In addition to identifying the process, sub-processes, people, groups, and variance, the PACT Performance Model also has space for a Root Cause Analysis.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Adventures in HPT: Project 1: Phase 1 FEA: Part 1 Project Alignment

Adventures in HPT

This post marks the beginning of a series that I'd like to call "Adventures in HPT." Five months ago I accepted a volunteer position as the Director of Human Performance Technology (HPT) for the KeelWorks Foundation. KeelWorks (founded in 2008) is a Non-profit organization aimed at developing business competencies in anyone in need.

From the Executive Director:

"The actual purpose of Keelworks is to help bring more individuals in to the contribution and "have" zone. KeelWorks aims to inculcate core competencies like problem-solving, overt personal identity development, assertiveness, goal and project management, and teambuilding. They hope to help pampered rich kids, struggling urban youth, and unsocialized youth develop the foundational emotional intelligence that supports success. 

This non-profit expects to deliver this boon to the poor and the disenfranchised, as well as the enabled. This will require significant support resources. In some cases, they'll be bringing services to communities without internet, electricity, or computers. Their product will be virtual because many in need can't come to them. 

This non-profit doesn't have a fund-raising department, instead, they leverage internships designed to help individuals with learning gain practical experience to support their career ambitions."

Adventures in HPT will chronicle projects I complete while serving in this position. All information shared in this blog is with the consent of the KeelWorks Foundation, who is dedicated to 100% transparency in its actions and operations.

The HPT department at KeelWorks is new, and has been given full range to operate within KeelWorks, and also has been offered complete cooperation in support of our data collection processes. My team consists myself and Mrs. Perri Kennedy M.Sc. Perri and I worked on several projects together in graduate school.She has an excellent mind for analysis and evaluation, which is why I asked her to join my team.

Project 1: Our first project with the KeelWorks Foundation

Our first order of business as an HPT department was to speak with the stakeholders and get an idea of how the organization is operating. (Full disclosure: I have been working with KeelWorks for over a year and a half as an Instructional Designer, Project Manager, and Director of Project Management before becoming the Director of HPT.)

Phase 1: Front End Analysis

During our initial conversation we discussed several areas of concern. Because the organization has no financial budget, we asked the stakeholders to identify which areas of concern were their biggest pain points. Out of that conversation we had two points of investigation:
1. Volunteers are not producing.
2. There is a high level of volunteer turnover.

We were not ready to say how confident we were that these problems were factual (vs opinion) because the stakeholders were not able to provide us with quantifiable data during the call.

Part 1: Project Alignment Meeting

With an official project request, we were ready to begin project alignment (as Joe Harless would say). Our key point of contact was the primary stakeholder of the organization, who had already promised full resource support for our project. Our next task was to gain a better understanding of the problem so that it could be accurately defined. We looked for answers to the following questions:

Q: What prompted the request?

A: Both pain points were visibly noticeable to the stakeholders. After four years of existence the intern teams are still progressing slowly; despite some progress, none of the six teams have completed a course. Additionally, most interns and volunteers stay an average of three months and put in only 2.5 hours per week of the promised four.

Q: What is the organization's basic business goal?

A: Courses available for potential customers to access.

Q: What job(s) are impacted by this project?

A: All team volunteer positions at KeelWorks (Instructional Designers and Project Managers)

Q: What Outcomes are deficient?

A: Course is ready for development

Q: What is the project priority?

A: Top Priority

We determined that this project would most likely be a "Diagnostic Front End Analysis." For the record, a Diagnostic Front End Analysis is one that looks to improve existing performance (vs develop new performance).

Q: What is the goal of this project?

A: To conduct a Diagnostic FEA on the deficient outcome: Course is ready for development.

Q: What are the project constraints?

A: It may be difficult to conduct interviews or get responses via survey. All volunteers work virtually and are geographically disbursed. Additionally, busy schedules and/or past negative experiences with the organization may limit participation.

Q: What are the project parameters?

A: Interviews will need to be conducted via phone or Skype. Data sources include organization file archives in Google Drive.

Our project plan is to conduct phone-based interviews with several current and former interns (as available). Information collected from those interviews will be analyzed for possible root causes. That information will be converted to an online survey to reach the entire population. We will use that information to identify root causes and make recommendations to the stakeholders.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Job/Task Analysis Example

I've read quite a few blogs and articles on Analysis, but rarely do I see examples. Continuing from last week, I'd like to go into a little more detail on the Analysis Phase of ADDIE, though it will still be abbreviated...


  1. The team to be trained has a lack of knowledge and skill in Analysis for instructional design.

Project Scope: Train a team to conduct Analysis to be used for instructional design.

Job Analysis

Outcome 1: Job Analysis
  • Standard: Majority of Analysis Team agrees the input is accurate and complete.
    Outcome 2: Task Analysis
    Outcome 3: Learner Analysis
    Outcome 4: Trainer Analysis

    Task Analysis
    • Outcome: Job Analysis
      • Task: Collect Extant Data
        • Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills:
          • Be able to identify credible sources.
          • Be able to search through documentation and locate information.
        • Required Materials
          • Computer with internet access and/or access to published research on the subject.
        • Standards
          • Accuracy: Extant data is from credible sources. Extant data is relevant to the subject.
          • Completeness: None
          • Time: None
        • Environment
          • Library or computer terminal with internet access.
          • No barriers to Job Aids.
        • Frequency compared to other tasks
          • Low Frequency: Three times per year or less.
        • Safety
          • N/A
      • Task: Interview Master Performers
      • Task: Interview Accomplished Performers
      • Task: Analyze collected data
      • Task: Conduct Review
      • Task: Complete Job Analysis

    Collecting this level of data for each task will require a greater deal of time. At the very, I try to get the conditions and standards for each task.

    The next step is to work with your Subject Matter Expert to remove any unnecessary tasks. With that complete you can determine which tasks should be best delivered via Job Aid, Information Delivery System (handout, email, pamplet, elearning, etc) or Instructor Led Training. For those tasks requiring training, you can now develop objectives. As I mentioned in my last blog, if you have enough time, you might consider doing a Content Analysis before moving on to Objectives. However, my experience is that time is limited, and the Content Analysis will likely need to wait until the Design Phase.

    Here is how I would handle the Objectives for the analysis thus far:


    Behavior: COMPLETE a Job Analysis
    Condition: Given a computer with internet access
    Standard: So that a majority of the Analysis team agrees the input is complete.

    Unit 1.0: Analysis
    TPO 1.1 Given a computer with internet access, the student will COMPLETE a Job Analysis so that a majority of the Analysis team agrees the input is accurate and complete.

    • EO 1.1.1 Given a computer with internet access, COLLECT Extant Data that is from credible sources and relevant to the subject.
    • EO 1.1.2 INTERVIEW Master Performers.
    • EO 1.1.3 INTERVIEW Accomplished Performers.
    • EO 1.1.4 ANALYZE collected data.
    • EO 1.1.5 CONDUCT Job Analysis review.
    • EO 1.1.6 COMPLETE Job Analysis

    TPO 1.2: Task Analysis
    TPO 1.3: Learner Analysis
    TPO 1.4: Trainer Analysis

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    My thoughts on Job/Task Analysis

    I've been thinking a lot lately about Job/Task Analysis. My first encounter with the subject was in my undergrad. While studying Human Resources we learned to develop job descriptions which required a thorough Job Analysis. Pre-Graduate School I combined that knowledge with what I could gather from blogs and other resources. In Graduate School we studied Job/Task Analysis as part of the Instructional Design course. Since then I've spent quite a bit of time reading the works of Guy Wallace, Dick Clark, and David Jonassen. From reflecting on these experiences over time I have I have evolved my own understanding and use of these two Analysis types. Disclaimer: as always, there are many ways to do this.

    Ideally, when collecting data for analysis you triangulate information from Extant Data, Master Performers, Accomplished Performers, and Stakeholders.

    Job Analysis

    Conducting a Job Analysis is the process of figuring out exactly what a person holding a specific job should be able to accomplish... or, "What are their required performance outcomes?" (Of course, outcomes are the products or results of their work, not the actual process) This analysis is used to create job descriptions and learning objectives, among other things.

    Example: As an Instructional Designer, one outcome I am expected to produce is a Job Analysis.

    Ideally when you are doing a Job Analysis you also collect information on Standards (how you know when you've achieved the desired outcome) for each outcome.


    • Outcome: Job Analysis
      • Standard: Analysis Team agrees the input is complete.
    • Outcome: Task Analysis
      • Standard: Analysis Team agrees the input is complete.
    I usually continue collecting data until the Analysis Team agrees it is complete, or until I run out of time. Getting the Analysis Team to agree is an important part of gaining buy-in on the content (getting the team to agree could be a whole blog topic by itself).

    Task Analysis

    With the Job Analysis complete it's time to move on to the Task Analysis. A Task Analysis is essentially an inventory of the Tasks required to produce the Outcomes. I typically use two types of Task Analysis; Procedural, and Cognitive. A Procedural Task Analysis is done when the actions to be performed can be observed. Cognitive Task Analysis is done when the actions to be performed can not be observed (mental). Either way, it's important that you do not get pulled into the details of the tasks at this point (this is where Analysis Paralysis usually sets in).


    • Outcome: Job Analysis
      • Task: Interview Master Performers
      • Task: Interview Accomplished Performers
      • Task: Conduct Review
      • Task: Finalize Analysis

    These Outcomes and Tasks are weeded down to become objectives for the course. Later, during the Development Phase, a Content Analysis will be done to categorize each task. Waiting until after the Objectives are complete allows you to skip all the "weeded out" tasks. If you have a lot of time, you can conduct the Content Analysis before developing objectives, but in my experience, time for analysis is usually limited. What's important here is that we focus on important business outcomes, and on the tasks necessary to produce those outcomes.

    Favorite Job/Task Analysis Resource:

    Blog: Guy Wallace

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Using HPT to Plan a Virtual Support Network Part 1: Project Kickoff

    A few months back I was having a conversation with Guy Wallace about starting a professional chapter. The purpose was to collect data for an organization I belong to that was looking to start a virtual chapter. I was interested in hearing his story about starting up the Charlotte, NC chapter of ISPI. During the conversation the topic of a Virtual ISPI chapter for Capella came up and I began thinking that this concept could possibly fill the needs of some of my colleagues and Alumni at Boise State. I decided to put together an Exploratory Committee to look into the possibility of forming a chapter.

    The Exploratory Committee consists of members from each category of potential stakeholders I had identified: 3 Students (2 online, 1 on campus), 1 Alumni, and 1 Faculty member. With our committee formed, we discussed some of the potential services a Virtual Support Network could provide to our Stakeholders. We decided that a Performance Analysis would be appropriate to determine what problems and opportunities exist within our groups of stakeholders, and which could be supported by a Virtual Support Network.

    To begin, we developed a list of services the Network could provide, based on our own experiences. A few of the services included; ways for Alumni to give back to the program; affordable/quality programs/professional development; networking opportunities; professional resources and literature; pre-qualified course projects for students; and employment services. We also discussed the possibility of aligning our network with an international organization such as ISPI or ASTD. Of course, in keeping with good practices we wanted to analyze our target audience to ensure these needs were widespread. This brings us to the Analysis Phase.

    Over the next two months we will be conducting interviews and surveys to determine how comprehensive and accurate our assumptions are. We will look to determine the needs of our potential stakeholders, and determine the best ways to support those needs.