Manage Well : Document- Publish – Train – Measure: DPTM
Capability maturity models for process in management are based on a simple principle. Document what you expect. Publish it to others. Train them. Follow up with measurement to ensure it is being used and results are being achieved as designed. Some years before I knew anything about CMM, this was hammered into me by an astute manager and mentor. This can apply to any area. Don’t just focus on daily routines. Think about quarterly reports or employee review handling. What about an organizational change? Is it right to use email and quick information on high impact items while painstakingly covering easy routines? But, we do it, don’t we?
You don’t have to belong to the training department or use games to get this. Simple and consistent application of these principles will win you fans in your team.
Why It Works: When you DPTM, you should consider using as many different modes as possible. Don’t just write it down in an email and expect people to understand and follow. It won’t happen.
There are seven understood, primary roots of understanding in learning.
Kinetic – Do it. Touch it. Get physical with it. In a production shop, there are many for whom this is the deepest root of understanding.
Emotional – Yes, some people have to get emotional to ‘Get it.’ Emotions have a big vocabulary. Anger, hatred, frustration, joy, happiness, anxiety, fear, angst, wild hearted abandon, quizzical, consternation, confusion, engaged, light-hearted, enchanted, apoplexy, fixation, consumed, apathetic, mournful. Some people have to grieve over the last item to receive the next one. Believe it and allow for it. Don’t judge team members while they are sorting through emotions. It is a learning process. Now, if they camp on negative emotions, you have some issues to resolve.
Intellectual – Wow. Yes, we all want our team members to study and understand what is happening. But, it is not required for everyone.
Discussion – Even if the subject itself is not discussed, if there is discussion surrounding the process or procedure, it makes for better understanding. Even a negative discussion can open up the ability to understand. Leave this out at a major risk of disconnecting. I’ve seen great people leave companies just because this was not handled well.
Music – Ever wonder why that teenager can learn with loud music in the background or why every movie has sound continually? It helps. For some, it is necessary.
Auditory – We all need to hear what is happening.
Visual – Get your eyes on it. Look over the documents. Attach some graphics. This does not mean literal learning. Many visuals do not connect with the words and paper. They need additional stimulus with color and graphics and maybe even motion.
None of us use only one of these for understanding. Engage them all and you will cover your team’s needs. The more modes of communication, the deeper the message tends to embed.
What each means: DPTM
Document: When you document a policy or process or procedure, you write it down. That can and should include supporting graphics and video and screen captures where appropriate. Email is not documentation. Email might be a delivery method for a document, but an email itself should never be considered good documentation. Documentation is compliance checked, authorized, categorized, organized, stored, and retrievable. Back pocket documentation is dangerous.
Publish: Once you have agreed upon documentation that represents the policy, process, or procedure, you need a communication system that ensures all upstream and downstream team members involved have been notified. Give adequate time for review and questions.
Train: Oh, boy. This one is skipped too often. Well, she should have read it, right? Wrong. Train with the published documentation in hand or on screen. Verify and ask revealing questions that help you understand if they understand. Let the person solo the procedure with the trainer observing. In fact, have the trainer do the process in front of the person before they attempt to solo. Make sure the documentation is readily available for the trainee to refresh. Sometimes you can forget a key point or go long periods between using a procedure and need that original training material alongside at 3am.
Get a sign off. That is not a failsafe. It does challenge the trainee to pay close attention and communicate if it does not make sense to them.
Measure: Include verification and communication of measurement criteria for any routine. This is a good place to make sure the trainee understands what the expected result looks like when the process or procedure is completed or the policy followed. Then implement a measurement tool on a frequency fit to task. Everything doesn’t need measured every iteration, but much does and patterns monitored for continuous service improvement.
Manage well. Apply sensible principles. Consider impact. Have fun.