HPISC Client Impact Stories

The Real Meaning of TTT for SMEs

Find out how Tony discovers the power of words and the value of clarifying expectations in the impact story below:

Tony was still a little anxious as he sat down in his office and booted up his laptop.  This was his second day back to work after a six-week leave of absence and he was only too eager to get back to work and his projects.  During his absence, he learned that an independent consultant (IC) was brought on to get his project back on track.  Yesterday they met and she requested a meeting to discuss the vendor’s proposal for developing technical training modules.

“Tony, the hours quoted in the vendor’s proposal for TTT (train-the-trainer) looks a little light”, said the independent consultant.

“What do you mean?  Hey, if they want to undercharge me on this, I’m totally okay with that considering what they are charging us to develop the content!” responded Tony, the QA Manager.

“But, I think they are quoting you for hours around a trainer knowledge transfer and not how to deliver a live classroom session.  We need to have a discussion with them pronto” explained Tony’s consultant.

“Wait”, Tony interjected, “is there a difference that I need to know about?  Can you explain it to me before we have that call?”

So, the IC drew a quick sketch on the back of the vendor’s proposal and split TTT into two boxes: labeled “How to Train” and “Content”.  Then she added a box labeled “Knowledge Transfer” under the Content box and suggested that this is what the vendor has quoted hours for.   Tony then asked what belongs under the other box.  The IC added two more boxes; “Classroom” and “OJT”.  Tony continued to argue his belief that the vendor would deliver both.

The next day a teleconference session was scheduled with Tony, the IC, and the vendor. As the vendor described their deliverables, Tony kept shaking his head in agreement that this is what he wants.  The IC suspected that Tony was hearing all the right words, but wasn’t yet convinced that he fully understood what the vendor will deliver, so the IC asked a clarifying question.

“Mr. Vendor, are you describing a knowledge transfer of your developed content or are you describing how to run a classroom?  You know, how to facilitate exercises, knowing how to adapt the leaders guide when things don’t go according to plan, how to present and not lecture.  Know what I mean?” asked the IC.

“Oh yes, certainly, you’re describing a TTT classroom presentation skills type course” Mr. Vendor answered.

Tony jumped in and shouted that this is what he wants in addition to the knowledge transfer session.   The vendor responded – “not for those hours” and the dialogue got very quiet.   Tony glanced at his IC with a look of concern and wondered what was happening on the vendor side.  Finally, they responded, “this is really out of scope and will require another proposal and quite frankly, we are not prepared to deliver that kind of TTT at this time in conjunction with this content development project”.   Tony confirmed that he still wanted the knowledge transfer and quickly ended the call.  He turned to his IC with panic and asked, “where can I send my SMEs to get the training I need?”

Tony’s Predicament Gets Serious

After searching multiple websites and downloading their course outlines, Tony grew even more concerned.  The budget was already tight and many of the suggested courses added learning objectives that were not appropriate for his technical SMEs.  They were not going to become full-time trainers. They just needed some tips on delivering content already prepared for them.  Having these new vendors come on-site, would seriously delay the project timeline again.

Tony was in a predicament; he really needed this project to be a success.  It was a fast-tracked CAPA project with high visibility to corporate global leaders and part of an intense FDA inspection followup. He turned to his IC and asked if there was any way she could help. [*CAPA= Corrective Actions Preventive Actions]

Tony’s IC was expected to transition into a project manager mentor to Tony and the other QA staff members.  It so happened that she was also an instructional designer who designs TTT SME workshops; but for OJT, not classroom platform skills.  “So, what’s the difference” he challenged her.  

The Proposed Solution

The IC put a draft together and presented the different performance objectives to him a few days later.  Tony was thrilled with the suggested content and even more pleased that all the exercises would be tailored to delivering the technical content.  “Now this is what I wanted!” he exclaimed.

A week later, the IC shared the good news and the bad news. “Tony, I’ve designed the course.  I’m afraid there’s too much content.  It’s 8 hours.  Do they really need to know all this”?

Tony picked up the design plan and draft storyboard and “falls in love” with the content all over again.  The IC then challenged his purpose and had him describe his expectations for the SMEs delivery of their assigned content.  They began sorting content into needs to know and nice to know lists and magically they found a way to deliver the course in 4 hours.  But Tony couldn’t just throw away the other “4 hours of content” and asked that a supplemental packet be developed and made available for them. 

End Results

The four hour block of time was more conducive for SMEs work load and just enough time to help manage information overload.  “Mr. Vendor” fell behind schedule and thus their leaders guide was delayed.  However, Tony requested that the SME Classroom workshop still be delivered using a mocked up leaders guide instead.  The course also included implementation planning and scheduling for SME delivery of their assigned technical modules.

Business Alignment of Organizational Needs

Request the PDF version below to learn how four levels of needs are aligned with this project solution.

Value Added to Client/ Organization

When working with vendors to develop course materials, Tony now requests a “knowledge transfer” session that meets the expectations of all involved.   And provides the facilitation workshop as a refresher just before delivery is expected.

Quotes: “I really like your Trainer’s Toolkit of Tips!”

Tony, the QA Manager
PDF Version: Business Alignment and TTT INFOGRAPHIC INCLUDED in the PDF.

Who is the Author, Vivian Bringslimark?

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