"One does not simply suggest training;" however, one needs to create an entire 'thesis' for it.
Author's note: (I've written this post sometime March 2011 in my other blog. I'm now transferring all my articles here.)
In my stint as a training manager, I project-managed multiple TNA initiatives; and together with my team, we have successfully formulated, implemented, and sustained appropriate training and developmental interventions. In my experience, the project management process for Training Needs Analysis mainly involves 7 phases.
During this initial phase, my team gathers initial data to pinpoint certain performance gaps. We coordinate with the different departments, and solicit input from other stakeholders in gathering the required data. The expected outcome of this phase is the Rationale, the Scope, and the Data Analysis of the project.
Phase 2: Planning:
The project team brainstorms and strategizes on the interventions to employ, the intervention design, the expected timelines, and the measures of success during this phase. The expected outcome of this phase is the business case – which will be presented to the key stakeholders.
Phase 3: Commitment:
Getting commitment means that approval from key stakeholders will be solicited. This is usually done thru a thorough presentation of the business case to the management team. The expected result of this phase is the approval for the project's implementation.
Phase 4: Communication:
This is the phase where the project team sets expectations of ‘who’s supposed to do what’ for the project. In all our TNA projects, the team makes sure to involve the management team in driving the initiative. We don’t only rely on the management to sign-off, but also require deliverables and participation from them. The expected outcome of this phase is our “Project Champion,” and the project plan.
Phase 5: Implementation:
The team now executes the project plan and delivers the intervention/s.
Phase 6: Follow-up:
During this phase, my project team keeps track of the participants’ progress. This is where the 4 levels of evaluation fall under. The project team keeps track of the participants’ initial reaction to the curriculum, its relevance, its facilitation, and its marketability. Moreover, test/certification scores are tracked to make sure that the terminal objectives are met. In a pre-determined amount of time, members of the project team are deployed to check if the learners are applying what they’ve learned in the intervention. Lastly, the team checks for the project’s impact to performance by going back to the KPIs. The expected outcome of this phase are the measures of success of the intervention.
Phase 7: Follow-Through/Sustainability:
Any successful project needs to be sustained; or else all the resources and time would’ve just been wasted. My philosophy in conducting TNA is that a project should only be done ONCE; having to repeat a successful project means that no control measures were set in place. Moreover, behavioral changes can happen only within a set amount of time, and if left uncontrolled, the participants would revert to their ‘old ways.’ This is the phase where the project team makes sure that we ‘install’ additional measures to sustain the project. My team has gone as far as creating a new compliance scorecard, changing the KPIs, and changing the culture. The expected outcome of this phase is sustainability.