3 Secrets to Successfully Managing Product Development Programs: Q&A

Randy Iliff presented the 3 Secrets to Successfully Managing Product Development Programs webinar to the ProjectManagement.com community and provided three secrets to successfully manage product development programs. Randy provided a wealth of information in his presentation. We were not able to get to all of the questions during the live session, but we have included them here.

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The Business Case, Product and Process

We all recognize the importance of benefits realization management. But benefits are identified and derived from the business case. Without a realistic business case, benefits realization management is hardly worth the effort. A development process based upon an iterative model and the use of best practices can increase the quality and trustworthiness of the business case.

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Product Qualities Approach, Agile Style

Using product quality to deliver business value in agile development is vital. This article provides a how-to for progressive change agents interested in delivering products that generate measurable business value for their customers and stakeholders. You’ll learn how product qualities differ from functions, how to identify the right ones, measure them and use improvements to drive business results.

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New Zealand: New subsidy to boost workplace productivity

(From The National Business Review) — The government has announced a fresh initiative to boost workplace productivity. The new ‘High Performance Working’ initiative will provide a pool of $1m per year to fund a network of specialist business consultants, who will work with businesses to promote more effective use of time and skills in the workplace. “Achieving greater employee engagement and developing sound workplace practices is crucial to growing a successful business,” Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said in a release today. It is expected that about 70 firms per year will receive between $10,000 – $15,000 in consultant services under the new scheme, which is designed to complement New Zealand Trade and Enterprises’s new training and development voucher programme. Read more.

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Latest Research Finds Onboarding Improves New-Employee Engagement and Productivity

(From Online PR News) — According to a recent Aberdeen Group study sponsored in part by SilkRoad technology, inc., the leading provider of Talent Management solutions, 63 percent of organizations with a formal Onboarding process experienced employee performance improvements within the first year. Aberdeen interviewed 466 human resources professionals for the study, “Onboarding: The First Line of Engagement,” and concluded companies with a formal onboarding process (with a dedicated strategy and objectives) had a 60 percent greater year-over-year improvement in revenue and a 63 percent greater year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction than those with an informal or ad-hoc onboarding process. The 466 executives identified the most important goal of onboarding as ensuring employees are engaged and assimilated into the company’s culture and to make them productive as quickly as possible. Out of the companies Aberdeen found to have “Best-in-Class” performance, 85 percent have a formal onboarding process in place. Of those top companies, 67 percent also supported onboarding processes with formal learning and development, and 66 percent evaluated its onboarding impact at least annually. Read the full release. For more information on onboarding, consider attending the session From Knowledge Hoarding to Collaboration: New Employees Lead the Wayat the ASTD 2010 International Conference and Exposition!

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DDI Announces Development Program for Individual Contributors

As organizations look to the future of business, the performance of every employee will be critical for business growth. So global talent management expert Development Dimensions International (DDI) has created a development solution to help individual contributors boost the skills that will improve both individual and group effectiveness DDI’s program, Interaction Management: Exceptional Performers (IM: ExPSM), includes eight courses to build the skills of professionals and emerging leaders, from financial whizzes to engineering gurus. “Organizations can’t afford to ignore this group of professionals that aspire to be the technical experts as well as the next generation of leaders,” said Jim Davis, Vice President of Workforce and Service Development for DDI. IM: ExP uses interactive learning experiences to build skills that result in positive behavior changes in employees, resulting in a more productive and more engaged workforce. The course list includes: Communicating with Impact, Embracing Change, High-Impact Feedback and Listening, Networking for Enhanced Collaboration, Navigating beyond Conflict, Valuing Differences, and Working as a High-Performing Team. Read more.

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Church’s Chicken Gets Cookin’ with Employee Development Using Learn.com Knowledge Platform

Sunrise, FL-July 22, 2010 – Learn.com, the Knowledge Platform company, announced today that Church’s Chicken, a major quick-service restaurant chain specializing in fried chicken, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has selected the company’s knowledge platform technology to automate and standardize training for their employees in company-owned stores. Church’s main focus is restaurant operations training for team members. Utilizing the Learn.com platform in a phase-one rollout, Church’s can automate, standardize and track employee training across the enterprise with features such as built-in authoring tools to create and share content with employees and dashboard reports that align job requirements and competency for each role. In phase two, training will be extended to franchisees. “Learn.com, with its extensive quick-service restaurant experience and outstanding technology, understands the value of its products relative to our needs,” said Steve Heissner, Director of National Field Training. “We can track job and restaurant safety training while our employees take advantage of the on-demand 24/7 access of the Learn.com platform.” Read more.

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Canada: Gov’t Invests in Skills Development and Workplace Safety

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 28, 2010) – Canadian manufacturing workers and businesses will benefit from a Government of Canada investment in a literacy and essential skills development project. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, together with Mr. Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “Our government believes that working with partners to improve literacy and essential skills is a great way to help Canadians build better futures,” said Minister Raitt. “By identifying best practices and creating tools to help businesses incorporate these critical skills in their training programs, this project will ultimately help workers get the skills upgrading they need to stay safe and productive on the job.” Read more.

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ASTD Study Shows Social Media has High Value for Learning and Development

Social media is a force and trend that should be embraced, according to new research from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). A new research report, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations finds that regardless of generation, workers in the United States believe that social media tools have an important role to play in workplace learning and development. The study also finds that most companies have a long way to go when it comes to implementing social media tools for the learning function. While the vast majority of respondents used social media in their personal lives, only 24 percent said their informal learning at work included social media. However, more than 80 percent of survey respondents said social media tools would become an important part of the learning function within the next three years. The findings show very strong and significant correlations between high use of social media tools at work and respondents’ opinions that the tools help them get more and better work done, learn more truly useful things, and learn more in less time. The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations shows that social media tools have considerable value for the learning function. ASTD President and CEO Tony Bingham says, “Understanding the huge impact Web 2.0 technologies have on how the workforce learns is critical to engaging employees and customers, and ultimately, critical for an organization’s growth and success.” The topic of social media in the learning function will be addressed by Bingham at ASTD’s 2010 International Conference and Exposition on May 17. For more information on The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations visit www.store.astd.org.

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ASTD Releases Salary and Compensation Study for Learning & Development Industry

With a median salary of $75,000, learning and development (L&D) professionals are paid relatively well compared to other HR professionals and the general workforce, but pay levels have not increased, on average, in the last four years. Also unchanged is the gender salary gap – men continue to earn more than women in the L&D profession. These are among many findings in the just-released Salary and Compensation Report from ASTD and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). The report is the most comprehensive analysis of salary and compensation for L&D professionals and includes detailed analysis of practitioner demographics across industry, tenure, and gender. Based on responses from 1,997 U.S. employees, it includes findings from 40 compensation and benefit data points. ASTD’s last salary survey was conducted in 2007, before the onset of the global economic recession. The ASTD Learning and Development Industry Salary & Compensation Report, 2011 contains these key findings The ASTD Learning and Development Industry Salary & Compensation Report, 2011 is the definitive salary and compensation report for the L&D industry. A whitepaper about the research is free to ASTD members. The full report can be purchased from the ASTD Store.

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Applied Performance Solutions: Layoff Survivors and Productivity

From Applied Performance Solutions, March 20, 2009 Contact: Grant Howard 415-945-9812 fastresearch@prodigy.net www.appliedperformancesolutions.com Layoff Survivors and Productivity A recent survey of workers who have survived corporate layoffs in the past six months finds that 74% feel their productivity has declined. In addition, 64% feel the same about their co-workers. The bottom line: They believe the quality of their company’s products or service has suffered because of layoffs. Diane Valenti, an expert in performance consulting, helps companies maximize their investment in human capital. “There is a whole segment of the population that I call layoff survivors,” she says. A simple process can help improve productivity: 1. Ensure the mission of each job is aligned with the company strategy. 2. Identify tasks that are essential and those that can be eliminated. 3. Confirm or develop specific, measurable quality standards. 4. Identify barriers to performance. 5. Improve morale by acknowledging the difficulties of layoff survivors. Bio: Diane Valenti has more than 20 years of experience as a performance consultant. She is president of Applied Performance Solutions, Inc., and her clients have included Genentech, Nike, and Starbucks Coffee Company. Diane is the author of “Training Budgets Step-by-Step.” She appeared in articles in Training Magazine, TD&J and Learning Circuits. In addition, she wrote a professional booklet for the American Society of Training & Development (ASTD).

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Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace With the Respect Effect

By investigating research from the field of neuroscience and engaging the perspectives of an organizational development practitioner, training can take on a new dimension as we investigate how brain science is helping to shape the work cultures of tomorrow. If an organization adopts the transnational power of respect, there will be improved business culture, productivity, and profitability. In this session, learn how to incorporate an environment of engagement and trust, which ignites the brain…

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Rapid Video Development for Learning Certificate

Video is the new flipchart. Learning and development professionals are increasingly called on to create video content that extends learning beyond the classroom; as well as to introduce more learning resources into classroom training. This program teaches learning professionals how to use consumer-level equipment to create engaging video that looks professional and reinforces learning. Participants will learn all aspects of shooting professional-looking video, from planning and pre-production, to shooting and recording sound, to editing and deployment. At the end of this program, participants will be able to confidently produce quality video quickly and affordably.

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Course Design and Development

Learners are busy and want results. This issue will show you how to focus on two key components of instructional systems developmentdesign and developmentso that your design clearly gives participants what they need to know, while focusing on learning transfer, and how your training ultimately impacts the organization. The competency-based approach offers advice on design basics, instructional strategies, and course descriptions, plus pointers on the basics of developing course materials. Editor: Cat Sharpe
Product SKU: 258905 ISBN: 978-1-56286-166-7
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

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Basics of Instructional Systems Development

Instructional systems development (ISD) can be a complicated business, and sometimes you just need an overview. Heres the Infoline for you. This issue provides an ISD overview along with a short profile of each component the simple design model known as ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation). You will find a detailed explanation of each element along with practical advice on building your next training session using the model. The issue includes a useful course design checklist to keep you on track. Author: Chuck Hodell
Product SKU: 259706 ISBN: 978-1-56286-213-8
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

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Basics of Career Systems Development

Creating a workforce development system that encourages and supports employee talents and motivation is difficult work without a systematic approach. This Infoline shows you how to accomplish this goal using a six-step process for creating and implementing a career system. Detailed background sections provides information on what these systems can do for an organization along with case studies to demonstrate how career systems have succeeded in other organizations and explains the components of a career development system. It outlines six steps for creating and implementing a career system. Authors: Stephen K. Merman and B.J. Chakiris
Product SKU: 259410 ISBN: 978-1-56286-195-7
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

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Rapid Video Development for Trainers

Rapid Video Development for Trainers meets the needs of companies and individuals who are thinking about or have dabbled in video production. Written specifically for trainers by a 20-year media industry veteran who has worked in Europe, America, and Asia, Rapid Video Development for Trainers explains in clear, nontechnical language everything you need to know to create exceptionally instructive, cost-effective video yourself.

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Supporting NPD Projects

In the area of new product development, project portfolio management solutions can help bring strategic and financial control throughout the project or product lifecycle. However, an NPD process roadmap is critical to the success of these tools. This article reviews PPM offerings in the NPD arena, and outlines a best-practices methodology to implement.

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The Agile Revolution

Linear thinking, prescriptive processes and standardized, unvarying practices are no match for today’s volatile product development environment–or any “exploratory” project, for that matter. As processes swing from anticipatory to adaptive, project management must change also. It must be geared to mobility, experimentation and speed. But first of all, it must be geared to business objectives.

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The Professional Services PMO

One manager’s clients asked him to assist with improving the effectiveness of their PMO. They made it clear that the office was only responsible for the professional services arm of the business–and they weren’t prepared to discuss extending the scope of the PMO to include the product development team. Read on for more on this unique situation…

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Truth Be Told

In the midst of a well-documented restructuring, Sun Microsystems knew its long-term relevance would depend on new product releases. And in one division, a two-year-old PMO is playing a lead role, helping to deliver a holistic, realistic view of new product development programs. In fact, the PMO has come to be called the Ministry of Truth.

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Program Management + Agile

The Agile mindset can be applied to activities beyond IT and product development, but it will require important critical changes to program management methods. The biggest transition is not in reengineering processes but in a management approach that involves different expectations, working relationships, incentives, metrics and reviews.

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Do Not Pass Go

No organization will succeed at new product development over the long haul without a systematic approach to project selection and resource allocation. It’s all about making informed go-kill decisions, again and again. Here are 10 best practices that can help — from data integrity and triangulation, to incremental commitments and cross-functional participation.

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Nonfunctional Requirements

Who needs function? When managing your next project, make sure the nonfunctional requirements are clearly specified and well documented. This will not only help your product development team make decisions while designing the system’s architecture, it will also make possible the acceptance of the product by the customer.

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The Power of Roadmaps

Integrated roadmaps help organizations document, visualize and manage their long-term new product development strategies. The benefits include high-level alignment between portfolios and strategy, to daily support for project management efforts. Here are guidelines for building and implementing integrated roadmaps.

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The Social PM Approach

Product development requires a unified, collaborative team effort. A social project management framework, combined with the right social tools, helps to connect team activities to the product development process and stakeholders. The benefits include increased visibility, more accurate estimates, responsive, real-time analysis and streamlined workflows.

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