One of the bonuses of the Thrash is that I am more open to new sources of input.
It also reminds me that my
ADD generalist leanings occasionally come in handy.
Our IT department has put together what I am calling a SWAT team of the best and brightest. (Currently) 7 guys with a really good track record of results in their specific areas who also are capable of thinking systemically about the organization and the systems within it.
In one of our large group meetings, the SWAT team leader gave a brief introduction to the discipline of Business Architecture.
“The Business Architect figures out what people are doing right now, the pain points in the process, and helps them determine how to make that process work better for them AND the tools that will make that process even easier.” Essentially embedding IT into a process to help make it better vs. inflicting IT on a process for the sake of “progress.”
Instructional designers, particularly those who do application implementations, tend to do a lot of process work too. Mostly in the name of establishing context when they train.
The SWAT team is trying to solve the problem on the front end – through process improvement and carefully chosen solutions that actually help the problem at hand. If they do their job well – formal training is either unnecessary or at least a heck of a lot easier.
Project teams generally engage Training groups too late in the project process for them to much more than cobble together “training” from whatever is put in front of them – even if the problem is a badly chosen system or a carefully chosen system embedded into bad processes.
Though folks like Gary Wise and Harold Jarche (among others) talk about trying to get into the front end of these conversations – the combination of our traditional methodologies, client expectations surrounding what we “do”, and the workload often prohibits earlier engagement. Exhaustion further dampens the enthusiasm for creativity and the desire to push-back when we see that “training” really isn’t the solution.
The SWAT team has some projects on deck that are grappling with some big questions.
How do people communicate with each other at work? (Unified Communications)
How do people get work done wherever they are? (Mobility Architecture)
It dawned on me as I listened to the SWAT team leader describe his department and what they do that they might help me with MY big question.
How do people learn and master their job?
It also dawned on me that I might be able to use some of the Business Architecture discipline he talked about to help design a solution that works. This field is really new to me. I’m going to need a LOT of help.
Thankfully – it appears that I may have found some mentors.
The Communications Point Man (the SWAT team member who is driving the Unified Communications project) has been kind enough to invite me into the requirements and RFP process. Lengthy discussions with him have allowed me to think through some of the requirements for the learning environment that I’ve been collecting over the past few years and ways to re-engage the stakeholders.
I also had a lengthy discussion with the SWAT team leader, who has given me a whole bunch of stuff I need to look at and some good advice on how to tackle this cloudy, amorphous beast of mine.
As a result, I have more materials for the Thrash.
I’m hoping over the next few weeks – I will start to get more clarity as I sift through my piles of information.
During the conversation with the SWAT team leader, we talked a bit about people, process and technology.
Coincidentally, a few days later, David Armano provided this food for thought…
Technology will solve only 1/3 of your Social Business Problem
(though I would argue that technology will solve only 1/3 of your business problem period.)