In my current position as Senior Design and Development Officer in a government agency in charge of public transport services, I had to develop an induction program for new employees consisting of seven courses and a final practical day. Each course is part of a nationally recognized training package for the transport, logistics, and infrastructure industry.
Some of the units consist on railway fundamentals, manual handling techniques, work, health and safety procedures, and fatigue management.
At the end of the induction program, participants need to demonstrate a series of competencies on those units through different assessment methods.
With the initial requirements and information available, the induction program was developed and implemented. Due to the similarity in some topics within the different courses, some assessments and topics were clustered into groups to maximize efficiency and try to maintain the induction program to one week duration.
In this case, the specific scope creep issue occurred when the new manager of the department reviewed the induction program and realized that clustering units in groups and fitting the seven courses into one week was not complaint with the national laws for registered training organizations like ours. We found out that each unit had to be delivered and assessed spending a certain amount of hours per course to be actually a validated and accredited course. This means, that some of the courses consisted on forty hours courses that we were delivering and assessing in eight or even less hours.
In this case, we needed to reformat the entire training program and the seven courses to actually meet the amount of hours stipulated for each course according to the national organization that ensures training providers can deliver accredited courses.
Supervisors and colleagues in the Learning and Developing Department experienced high stress because we could not deliver the induction program to new employees until we changed everything, and unfortunately those days we were expecting a big group of new staff required for a higher demand of tram drivers in the operational department.
Supervisors dealt with the issue by meeting with managers in different areas of the organization that were expecting new employees to handle the training requirements until the induction program was reformatted. As a result of those meetings, the manager of Learning and Development decided to subcontract external parties to deliver the courses of the induction program for the new employees. This gave us time to the designers and developers to reformat those courses and then deliver them in-house as we normally do instead of using external providers.
The only inconvenient with this approach was that using external providers of those courses meant that the content of the courses lacked context related to the railway environment, which is something we always include in our courses.
To handle that issue, in the Learning and Developing Department we quickly designed logbooks with meaningful activities to allow new employees practice in the railway environment and under supervision the knowledge gained in the courses delivered by the external providers. By doing this, learners could accumulate hours towards their courses and get an accredited certification while practicing their new knowledge in a real work environment.
Looking back at this experience I would still have done what the manager did of subcontracting external providers to deliver the courses until we redesigned and developed the whole training program. I would have additionally, getting extra staff in the form of temporary contracts or even as internship students to develop resources required for the new induction program. This would have added extra resources that were lacking those days.
Additionally, I would implement a change management procedure as suggested by Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, and Kramer (2008) “where changes can be introduced and accomplished with as little distress as possible” (p.346). This change management procedure would include the documentation and analysis of changes before attempting to include them in the initial scope of the project.
Create a compliance committee to review ensure all content and courses developed in the organization are complaint with the national laws for accredited courses.
And finally, I would communicate more frequently with all the stakeholders to keep them inform about the progress of works and possible issues that might come up during the project. This can be achieved using formal and informal communications, and having a clear, concise, and focused communication approach with all stakeholders (Laureate Education, n.d).
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.