A Process For Rapid Performance Analysis

A Process For Rapid Performance Analysis
Summary: This article discusses the nuts and bolts of how to do a Rapid Performance Analysis!

Reverse Engineer HPT Into An eLearning Order

I was recently asked if there was such a thing as Rapid Performance Analysis (RPA)—and there is! Companies frown on spending time to do a complete up-front analysis and want solutions to performance issues quickly. It’s also important to note that there is a fine line between producing quality solutions and producing them quickly. RPA is an integral part of Performance Instruction’s Transformative model of Human Performance Technology (HPT). So, here’s how to do it!

First, you need an actual or implied need/performance problem. Next, assemble a diverse team of stakeholders, SMEs, subject matter experts, learning experience designers (or instructional designers), and actual performers/learners and invite them to a “Kick-off Meeting.” The kick-off meeting is vital to the success of any performance initiative, particularly Transformative HPT & RPA! If you can only have one meeting with your team, make it the kick-off!

Bring to the meeting any extant data on the performance issue. Things like policies, standard operating procedures, data regarding the population of performers/learners, or anything that might be useful to understand the performance issues better. Think of this data as reference materials to help define the problem. But don’t dive into this stuff yet—you’ll use it later for “confirmation.”

7 Steps To Perform A Rapid Performance Analysis

Step 1: (Tell the Story) Get Clarity Of The Performance Issues & Story

At the meeting, you first need to get clarity on the performance issues. Help the team define “the story.” Visualize what is currently happening (actual) versus the ideal state (optimal) and start mapping from the beginning to the end. Along the way, ask key questions, such as the following. What are the performance issues? How big are the issues? Who are the actors (peripheral to the story), and who are the performers?

Step 2: (Define & Empathize) Operationally Define The Issues & Empathize

This is important so that everyone in the room has the same understanding of what the performance issues are. Clarify the phases (scenes in the story). What’s causing the gaps (actual vs. optimal) at each phase or point in the process? What are the actors/performers thinking, feeling, and seeing? (Note: we know what they are doing as it's wired into the story and/or articulation of the gaps).  Make sure there are no implied causes or solutions in the performance problem statements.

Step 3: (Segment & Sort) Categorize And Rank The Performance Gaps

Here, you use a voting process or a decision matrix. Determine the top one or two issues to address right away. Put the rest of the performance issues on a backlog sheet. The backlog is a list of the issues you will address at some other point.

Step 4: (Teach Or Not-Teach) Determine The Type Of Issues

Are the performance gaps due to a skill deficiency, a process issue, or a consequence of working within the system? Categorize the issues as instructional or non-instructional. This is where you might get pushback from stakeholders who already assumed the solution would be training or eLearning. Leverage the story (groupthink) to explain why it’s important to deploy a given solution.

Step 5: (Whose Fault Is It Anyway?) Brainstorm Potential Causes Of The Issues

What caused the issues to occur? Make a hypothesis about the root causes of the issues that you will want to confirm. The extant data you brought into the meeting may help determine some of the causes.

Step 6: (OK, Let’s Fix It!) Brainstorm Potential Solutions/Interventions

Continue brainstorming solutions or interventions to address the performance issues. Here you can use traditional brainstorming. When the brainstorming is completed, determine which solutions yield the most value and can be implemented. Implement as many solutions as possible before the next meeting or SCRUM cycle—particularly non-instructional interventions. Be a detective! See how the solution works in the “wild” document and be prepared to report & refine.

Step 7: (What’s the Plan?) Develop A Plan And Implement The Solutions/Interventions

The Transformative HPT process can help any organization resolve organizational performance issues. However, a performance analysis must be done to understand where a performance problem starts! Conducting a Rapid Performance Analysis triggers and guarantees that both instructional and non-instructional interventions are identified so effective solutions can be implemented.