If you’ve never worked with performance consultants, instructional designers, or technical writers, it’s natural to wonder how long you can expect engagements with these specialists to last. “If I need deliverables quickly,” you might ask, “Is it possible to work with one of these specialists, or am I better off relying purely on internal resources?”
As we have discussed elsewhere, there are a number of factors that affect how much time and effort is required to complete a performance improvement project. Project type, scale, and output parameters all influence required timelines.
Because every project we complete is custom to the unique needs of our clients, it is especially difficult to assign timelines for theoretical engagements. Here’s what we can tell you, however.
A Proven Process Is Necessary
We follow a thorough, proven process for completing projects, but we work hard to ensure we move quickly and are efficient when asking for our clients’ time. In fact, one of our five core values is “Move,” meaning when we see a challenge, we own it and we never sit still. No matter what type of project we work on, we work to get you deliverables quickly because we know the sooner we provide them, the sooner you can start enhancing performance within your organization.
Avoiding Speed Bumps in Performance Improvement Projects
We may not be able to easily answer, “How fast can you do it?” We can, however, tell you that there are certain factors that tend to slow down projects, and if you can recognize what they are and plan to address them ahead of time, there is a much better chance we can provide rapid support. Here are a few tips:
- Be sure to choose team members who are available for interviews and follow-up questions. If someone is going to be out of the office for a while or working on a major initiative that will prevent them from spending time with us, that can hold up the process.
- Plan ahead for reviews and approvals. Make sure all reviewers/approvers understand what deliverables are coming their way and how much time they have for providing feedback. People’s jobs understandably “get in the way,” so be realistic about what turnarounds are feasible and let us know up front.
- Try to avoid changes in scope and process as much as you can. Adding new deliverables, additional reviews, or other shifts mid-project are a sure way to throw off a timeline from what was originally discussed. Things happen, and sometimes these changes are unavoidable. Still, proactive communication is everyone’s friend in these situations. If we know about a newly emerging need, we may be able to assign additional resources on our end.
- When we hold a kickoff meeting for the project, assign a single contact person on your team who is responsible for communicating with us, and we’ll do the same. This allows us to not only efficiently share project status updates, but also facilitate changes in the process as needed.
- Know that if project scope does change during the engagement and new deliverables are needed, we can add resources to the project team if budget allows. In some cases, this will expedite the project—if there are multiple training modules that need to be completed at once, for instance—but in other cases, adding resources comes with diminishing returns due to the steps required to complete the project. We can certainly discuss options if needed.
Ultimately, we are committed to getting you what you need when you need it. We will do all we can to help you meet your performance improvement goals in a timely manner, tapping into our rich experience to shrink timelines where we can without sacrificing deliverable quality. For more on this, check out this blog post.
If you want to discuss details of a project you have in mind, we are happy to provide our best estimate of how quickly we can address your needs. Reach out to schedule a free brainstorm session.