EDTEC 685 - Assignment 4

Performance Technology Makeover


EDTEC 685 Information & Instructional Technologies for Organization - Fall, 2007

Prepared by: Susan Lulee

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PT Makeover

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The Opportunity

LL Software Company’s professional team formed by senior project managers, outstanding engineers, and head of HR department created a two-week training course for newly recruited programmers. The purpose was to shorten programmers’ leaning curve so that they could deliver qualified program for maintaining a widely adopted system upon completion of the course. The training was successful, 90% of the engineers pass the accomplishment assessment and their new team leaders were pleased with new engineers’ skills. However, 60 days after new engineers took over the system maintenance, clients’ complains sent in increasingly. The company had to send senior engineers back to the front end to pick up the problems continually. They need a makeover, our team was invited to solve the problem.

Effort Reflection

We started by conducting a performance analysis that looked back to original training program:

  • Interviewing customers and sponsors to find out: what was the problem? What had been done to solve the problem? 
  • Interviewing internal and external experts to find out: what does the best practice looks like? Why the past effort failed? 
  • Interviewing and observed model engineers and randomly selected engineers to find out: what were the barriers and causes? What have they done to solve the problems?
  • Interviewing supervisors to find out: what was the gap between their expectation and the real performance of engineers?
  • What the extant documents said?

Solution Systems

  • A knowledge management system. Senior engineers pass their experiences, skills, and knowledge to new engineers via the system.
  •  A problem tracking management to follow up each software problem rose by clients and made sure that they were solved on time.
  • An evaluation system that connected with problem tracking system to ensure that positive performance got rewards.

The results worked out pretty well. The satisfaction levels of clients increased. However, few months later, new problems that related to sociopolitical system and human dynamics roused: clients complained that engineer was more interested in his own ideas than theirs; engineers didn’t respect their organizational culture, etc. Engineers complained that clients changed their requirement too often, and clients were difficult to them.

Performance Technology Makeover

Provided another opportunity, I would have conducted a thorough First Thing Fast performance analysis for problems (Rossett, 1999). I would have invested efforts on analyzing each of the six stages. I would have also avoided performance technology myopia and looking beyond the projects themselves (Durzo, 2005). My interview questions would have addressed not only skill, knowledge, or technical problems but also addressed organizational dynamics and group process. With a PT makeover, I would have incorporated the following:

  • Look beyond skills and tasks. Focus on relationship with clients, team functioning, organizational politics, and implementation issues.
  • Leverage training and non-training interventions. Training intervention would have included courses that teach engineers concepts and principles about how to deal with organizational dynamic, group process, and sociopolitical issues. Courses for change management would have taught engineers to keep clients’ expectation aligned with real situation. Non-training intervention would have included case studies, planners, and checklists that tailored to the situation. 
  • An ongoing performance support approach using technology. I would have expanded the scope of KM system to cover non-skill topics. Internal experts, supervisor, and engineers would have taken the KM system as a performance support system. All participants would have contributed their findings and experience on routine basis to enhance the support system. Engineers could have searched and repurposed for their situation. If some information were not available, the KM system would have created a series of wizard-like questions to capture the missing information.