Project Description: The Organizational Front-end Analysis of Task Behavior project was created for an assignment in IDE-712: Analysis for Human Performance Technology Decisions, Dr. Jing Lei, professor, May 2, 2010.
The goal was to conduct a Front-end Analysis of an instructional context to determine needs, and to propose recommendations for resolution through instructional, professional, or organizational development. The challenge, in this case, was to use the assignment as an opportunity to assist the Office of the Dean, School of Education in determining how to improve the performance of staff administrators in publishing content to their department’s Web pages on the School’s website.
As a graduate assistant, I was given full support by the Office of the Dean to conduct interviews with key administrators, management, and support staff to determine the nature of School policy, procedures, task priorities, organizational structure, skills, attitudes, tools, and other factors. The final report was submitted for review to the Office of the Dean.
My strategy was to view the School of Education as comprised of three interrelated systems:
- Content Workflow (how did content originate and pass through the system?);
- Personnel (who was doing which tasks?); and
- ICT & CMS Logistics (how was the composing system constructed?).
These sub-systems were then reviewed from the perspective of personal interviews, website analytics, and CMS analysis, with the results placed into tables for comparison between how the system currently operates versus its optima operationl.
A single integrated Master Flowchart of all sub-systems was created, from which the Office of the Dean and support staff could review at a glance to see which areas were in need of attention. Finally, a number of recommendation were offered to inform policy decisions and staffing.
FEA is like investigative reporting, and requires keen acumen in interpersonal relationships to be able to form a true picture of an organization, its systems, and people. I felt that my prior skills in verbal discourse with creative directors (for film production) was useful in helping interviewees to express how they felt about their situation, obligations, and levels of skill.
I felt the best way to understand the macro-system was to break it down into its sub-components, and rely primarily on the Content Workflow sub-system as a way to measure the capabilities and needs of the other two sub-systems. This approach was not explicitly suggested in the textbooks for this class, but it felt like the best way to find an optimal operation. From this baseline, the other subsystems could be measured logically for their ability to fulfill the work, or for management to consider policy review or re-organization.