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.

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