Keep Training Projects on Track
Before initiating a new training project at your credit union it’s important to make sure it’s relevant and timely.
Without adequate forethought, the project could languish and fail to accomplish its goal. Proper planning is essential to success.
For many training projects, the signs of risk are clear from the outset, according to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD). Meeting the final deadline is much more likely if the training developers unearth warning signs by asking the right questions of senior management during initial planning.
If the training project is attached to a larger, time-bound, high-stakes initiative, it’s more likely that the deadlines will be met because the goals and dependencies are clear.
Projects with smaller scopes, lower stakes, tenuous connections to business goals, and only marginal support from senior management can languish after being killed and resurrected time and time again.
Planning should involve asking a series of questions to peel away the layers of the deadline and reveal information about the project that may not be shared initially. In general, the vaguer the answers are to these questions, the greater the chance that your deadlines won’t work.
In addition to the typical instructional design queries, the ASTD’s T&D magazine suggests trainers ask the project’s sponsors and stakeholders three critical questions:
Why does this training project have to happen?
Most training requests are viable. It is not a matter of questioning whether learning should take place, but rather, why now.
If stakeholders cannot provide a specific answer to this question, the project is at risk. Internal team projects that need to launch right now will always take priority over dispensable training initiatives.
The rationale for selecting deadlines can be surprisingly arbitrary and disconnected from performance. Some examples include: “Our vice president wants to get this done,” “We have money in the budget this year,” or “We’ve been sitting on this for too long.”
If the answers to this question aren’t connected to employee and organization performance goals, or a larger business implementation, the project is at risk.
There may be an obvious upside to training, but it’s important to understand if there are tangible consequences if it’s not completed. The answers to this question are essential to successfully managing the project.
A lack of consequences for a training project that goes stagnant may indicate how well stakeholders understand the problem and its impact. It also calls into question whether the development team will feel enough “pain” to make the performance initiative a priority.
Strong answers to these initial questions may provide sufficient information to keep the training project on track. But if you struggle to find the answers you’re looking for, you may want to consider postponing the project until the answers are clear.
The most viable option, however, is to refocus a second round of questions toward the sponsors to determine more about the project’s purposes and ownership.
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