Tips For Developing Large Projects

About DSA

Darryl L. Sink and Associates, Inc. (DSA) helps organizations design and develop learning and performance solutions that get results. DSA works cooperatively with organizations to:

  • accomplish internal custom projects
  • train and educate their internal staff in Instructional Systems Development.

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DSA Tips Newsletter Archive

If you haven’t visited the tips archives lately, check it out –

Darryl’s tips are now conveniently organized not only by published date, but by these topics:

  • Project Management
  • Front End Analysis
  • Design Strategies
  • Instructional Strategies/Techniques
  • Measurement/Evaluation
  • Implementation
  • Professional Development
  • Coaching with DSA Tips

We have lots of great ideas just waiting for you to use!

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First, what do we mean by "large projects?" Check out this brief description of DSA's award-winning large project for a clear example...

Contracts & Purchasing Academy for Monterey County – the Largest County in California

This project is an award-winning example of a carefully structured and crafted human performance solution. DSA and its client, The County of Monterey, developed a three week Contracts & Purchasing Academy that focuses on the mechanics and arts of contract creation, entry, and life cycle management for the county's contract and procurement process. The Contracts & Purchasing Academy entails:

  • Six Instructor-Led Lessons  taught by internal subject matter experts with each lesson no longer than 4 hours in duration
  • Seven 30-40 minute e-learning lessons delivered to learners through the county learning and Development Network
  • Two Structured on-the-Job Trainings 
  • 27 Standard Operating Procedures 
  • Alignment with nationally recognized professional certifications (awarded through third-party standardized examinations)

The smallest team for instructional design and development projects is usually a subject expert, an instructional designer, and a client (internal or external). Today teams for major projects often need to be much larger to accommodate the size of the project, its importance, and the many different skill sets needed for the project.

IBM once asked for DSA’s help in providing some tools to their instructional designers that would speed their transition into doing larger, more complicated projects. This experience and our many custom projects with other clients have served as a stimulus for me to focus my attention on exploring the subject of today's newsletter–Tips For Developing Large Projects.

Here are two quick tips below and a link to 11 others we like and use when doing Large Projects.

1. Jump Start Your Project

After the lead instructional designer and client have defined the project in some detail…

Organize a major kick-off meeting to jump-start the project. Have everyone attend that will be at all important to the project- in person if at all possible or at least virtually using one of the internet collaborative meeting products (e.g. Zoom, Go To Meeting, etc.).

Go over the needs driving the project, the methods that will be used, and set all communications channels into place (e.g. email, software tools that will be used, etc.).

Finally do something special at the kick-off meeting for the whole team …for instance, jackets, printed T-shirts, and/or a really nice lunch.

2. Identify Barriers

After the main players have joined the project team…

Involve all your main team players to identify barriers to the success of the project. Have the team narrow them down to 5-6 they consider more important than the others. Then have the team come up with ways to respond to each barrier.

This process can set the stage for engaging the team to help solve problems later on, that were not initially anticipated.

See you next time,