Managing and Supporting a Resource Development Project

This article is the final piece of our three-part series: The Three Sides to a completing a successful VET Resource Development Project.

In this post, we will look at the Management and Support required for a successful resource development project. If you haven’t already, you may like to check out part-one (the simulated environment) and part two (Resource Developer Skill Set).

If you have been following this series, you will have an understanding of the importance of developing a functional and engaging simulated environment and recruiting resource developers with an appropriate skill set. However, even with these two sides covered, there is another critical ingredient in the recipe for a successful resource development project: management and support.

Let’s explore the key management and support requirements that will either make or break your project:

#1 Management of Triple Constraints

Like every project, you will be challenged with the need to manage the balance between time, cost and quality. This is where both a tried and tested resource development process and clear quality standards are critical.

You will only be able to manage the performance of your project team if expectations and standards are clearly communicated. Note that this is imperative regardless of the type of employment arrangements you have with project staff members (casual, contract or permanent). The performance standards must include acceptable parameters for development time and product quality standards/expectations.

Development Time:

Quality will be determined by your standard, processes and the time you invest in development. If you set an unrealistic time for development, you will decrease the quality of your product! We can all cut corners to make a deadline… but what is the true cost of this action? You should analyse how long each step in your development process will take before you attempt to work out an average or expected completion time for each product.

Development Quality:

You will find it impossible to manage quality if you have not clearly identified what quality is. This is why having a quality standard is so important! Once defined, resource developers must receive feedback against your quality standard. Note that frequent changes to your process and standard during the project will result in inconsistent product outcomes and disgruntled developers (that lead to unwanted increases in time and cost).

Development Cost:

If you want to save costs, then do it right the first time! Allow sufficient time and do not accept any output that is deficient against your quality standard.

#2 Additions to Scope

No doubt you will encounter scope creep… you know where someone has a ‘great idea’ midway through a project and decides it can be added to the work load (often without consideration for impact on some or all of the triple constraints above)? This can create frustration for all staff in the project team. As a result, it is important that focus is maintained on the original project’s scope and recognise that there will always be an opportunity to improve your product. You may like to schedule reviews for improvements and keep a continuous improvement register. Controlled continuous improvement will produce the best outcome for your organisation.

#3 Coaching and Development

As discussed previously, it is rare to find a resource developer that comes with all required competencies. You must plan adequate time and resources for coaching and development of the recommended competencies that you will need to develop in your resource developers, for your project to be successful.

#4 Industry and Trainer/Assessor Consultation

Training and development resources must meet both the needs of industry and be easily understood and executed by trainer/assessors. You must have clear communication channels between the resource developer and both industry representatives and trainer/assessors. Project team managers must have a plan for how best to consult and lines of communication with these key stakeholders.

If you choose not to manage a process that gives your developers access to industry and/or trainer/assessors then you will need to allocate time and resources in your process for “research time” and risk the final product missing the mark.

#5 Product Review and Feedback

This is arguably the most critical aspect of a resource development manager’s role and responsibilities. You must manage a collaborative process that involves reviewing the product and providing feedback to your developers across several perspectives that make up a quality product:

You must provide sufficient feedback and coaching to the development team to ensure that each of these dimensions meet the required standard for each product. This means that you will need to employ validators who have in-depth understanding and currency of each item listed in the image above, or a collection of people who can collectively provide feedback on each of these items against your quality standard.

To conclude:

Taking on a resource development project is not for the inexperienced or faint hearted. It’s a project worthy of considerable management and support; adequate resources; time and investment. Developing quality, compliant, engaging products that will meet with student, industry and regulatory requirements is no easy task.

We trust our series provides some useful insight into VET resource development. If you would like to see examples of product that we have developed to a quality standard for VET training/assessment or discuss how we can be of service to your organisation please contact us here or email innovate@educationinnovation.org

Co-authored with Matthew Garratt

 

Have your read the other posts in the VET Development Project Series or some of our other blog posts? Alternatively, give us a call or get in touch for more information about our training and assessment resources.