Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating with project sponsors, part of Instructional Design Essentials: Needs Analysis.
A lot of the information we'll need to start a needs analysis comes from the project's sponsors, who request the training. They can help us identify organizational objectives, identify the target audience, and identify constraints. Over the next few videos, I'm going to provide you with a framework for communicating effectively with project sponsors. We'll look at how we can work with sponsors to uncover the specific information we'll need. To conduct our analysis. In this video, we'll start by discussing some of the relationships we need to establish.
Identifying the project sponsors is a great place to begin. But be careful. This may be one person, or a group of people. It might not even be the person who requested the training. Theirs two roles we should look for. The first is the person who owns the training. This person is sometimes refer to as the project champion. The project is typically tied to their team or personal goals. The audience often reports to this person though not always. The second role is the person who's paying for the training. They help secure a budget, and other resources that allow the project to be successful.
In some cases the same person plays both roles. For example, imagine a contact center is installing a new customer relationship management system. The contact center director requests a training program for the new software, and provides the budget to pay for it. In this case, communicating with the project sponsor is pretty straight forward since the contact center director fulfills. Both sponsor roles. In other cases, there may be different people fulfilling the sponsorship roles. An example might be a company-wide safety training program.
In this scenario, the vice-president of human resources might own the program, because of a legal requirement for safety training. This vice-president is also responsible for helping the company reduce workers compensation costs. The company's divisional vice presidents are also key sponsors in this example. The cost of the training itself might be coming out of their budget, and it's their employees being trained. They may be worried about safety, but they're also concerned about the cost of the training and any operational disruptions the training may cause. This project could be tricky, since there are multiple agendas involved.
We'd need to make sure our analysis was meeting the needs of both sponsor groups. Once we've identified the project's sponsors, the next step is to set up a meeting to kick off the project. There are a few things we need to accomplish in this meeting, define the project, which includes identifying organizational objectives, identifying the target audience, and identifying constraints. Establish ground rules, which includes creating a communications schedule and a sign-off process for project deliverables, gain buy-in for the needs analysis, which can be challenging.
Sponsors are sometimes reluctant to support a needs analysis if they don't understand its value. They might not realize, how the analysis will help insure the training achieves their goals. It sometimes tell project sponsors that building a training program is like building a house. Just like you wouldn't start building a house by nailing random boards together, you shouldn't start a training program by crafting a powerpoint. You start by deciding what you really need, then getting an architect to create the blueprint, and then you start building.
The analysis phase is where we find out what we really need. Lets go back to the interview skills project we've been using as an example for this course. The Midwest Regional Vice President, Stacie Jones, asked us to create a two hour training program for supervisors in her region. Stacie owns the training, because it affects supervisors in her region. And she's sponsoring it because she's providing resources to make it happen. So, the next step in this project should be to schedule a meeting with Stacie. So we can define the project, identify her expectations.
And get her buying for a needs analysis. This meeting will help our needs analysis point in the right direction, so we can meet our sponsor's expectations.
- Setting project objectives
- Identifying the target audience for training
- Selecting data sources
- Facilitating focus groups and interviews
- Designing effective surveys
- Identifying participant needs
- Defining learning outcomes
- Presenting results to project sponsors