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Picking the Right First Project
April 25th, 2012
In March’s webinar, Picking the RIGHT First Project, we interviewed Molly Petroff of Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, Pennsylvania about her journey thus far with performance support (PS). Molly’s team chose to build, as their first project, an Embedded Performance Support Solution (EPSS) that provides two click access to safety information and resources. A key requirement for this project was supporting their emergency response to 13 different codes.
Here’s a quick view of how their EPSS is designed. If performers click on the Code Red button in the above screen, they instantly have access to a high-level view of the steps for responding to that code (called Quick Steps.)
To the right of the Quick Steps are options for additional resources if needed. One of those options is a more detailed version of the steps.
During the webinar, we asked Molly the following questions about this project. Her responses are very insightful.
Question: What got you started into PS in the first place?
Molly: We had been making pocket cards and other job aids for years – basically what we equated to performance support. But I attended one of Bob and Con’s breakout sessions at Masie’s Learning 2009 and realized we had only been scratching the surface. We had been treating PS like things, like those job aids, but in the presentation it was more of a concept or a learning philosophy. The ideas just fit for us. It was evident that this is where we needed to go.
Question: What made this first project the right place to start?
Molly: We were looking at several projects as a starting place, from leader onboarding to PS for the installation of a new electronic medical record. But as we were in the process of narrowing it down, the hospital underwent a survey from a certification agency and we fell out in an area of emergency safety. So this project sort of fell in our lap. We took care of the immediate problem, but then started planning for this PS solution so we wouldn’t be in that situation again.
Question: How did you get stakeholder buy-in both IN your learning group and the "business" around this first project?
Molly: After I came home from Learning in 2009 I started trying to share what I had learned with my team, using Con & Bob’s slides and my notes. When learning 2010 came our entire team went and followed along with the PS track. It was what we needed to get everyone’s buy-in and luckily we had grant money to pull it off.
Before we even chose a project, our director wrote a proposal to institute performance support to our SVP and then to our entire senior leader table. We needed their support for the concept before we even ventured down this road because this was going to be a huge shift in learning for our organization. They did approve by-the-way (obviously).
Then when the survey results were given, the importance of everyone having immediate access to correct information was felt house-wide and no one even questioned that this was the best place to start.
Question: Many struggle with the perceived effect this will have on their existing learning team and roles. What has made PS "doable" for your team?
Molly: Our department is relatively small. There are three of us who are full-time and two who are semi-retired, working a couple days a week. But even with this small group of people we each have different talents that have really facilitated this process; there really is a place for everyone in this project – from the techie to the analytical person to the people person to the graphic designer. Everyone one has found a spot where their contribution is vital to the project.
Question: What has been your messaging around this? Have you done anything specific around getting the message out to the various stakeholders?
Molly: We involved stakeholders in the process from the start. They were part of the task groups that did the RTA for the various codes. As the different groups started the process we explained the idea of performance support and what our project included, and then showed them the current mock up of our “home page” if you will, and one of the quick step graphics, so they would have an idea of where we were headed. By the time we were done with this discovery process, there wasn’t a single person we worked with that didn’t see the value of what we were building. More often than not, the reaction was “When can we have this?”
Question: What's your rollout strategy?
Molly: We are planning to beta test the SV Safety GPS with the people who helped us to build it. That gives them the chance to see the fruits of their labors before it goes live and allows us to get some feedback on functionality. This will also give us a chance to put a marketing plan in place. We are hoping that two weeks later we will go live house-wide. There will be a short learning program for all associates started from the Safety homepage that will introduce the resource.
Question: What do you see your next project being and why? Has this first project affected that next step?
Molly: Since this project included so many different groups of people, all of whom have seen the value of performance support, they have started coming to us for our assistance with a “perfect project”. We have needed to prioritize projects based on organizational impact to sort which should be next. We never expected to end up with a waiting list.
We have already started our next project. As the Safety program started getting toward the end of the discovery process, we started working on performance support for individuals as they perform their roles in relation to the patient’s progress through our system. A huge project actually, but we plan to provide access to pieces as they are developed.
Question: What advice would you have for someone just starting out? What three things would you do again, or differently?
Molly: I think it’s a good thing that our director took the performance support concept to the senior leadership before we even picked a project. Whetting their appetites for a better method of providing people with the information they need, when they need it; I think made it less of a foreign, chancy step when we adopted a high impact project as the first.
Advice? Be prepared to stumble, it is okay. At the beginning Con came out to help us with our first two days of rapid task analysis. Then we tried to carry on by ourselves with his example. It was rough at first, but we got better as we went along and explained to everyone that we were learning about this, too. I think people enjoyed being a part of something new, something different.
In the beginning our entire team participated in every discovery meeting. But as we moved along through the process with different groups, it became impossible for us all to be present, but we made it a rule that there needed to be at least two of us present at meetings. The different talents and points of view help us to glean what we need from meetings.
SO let’s see, I think that’s three: Get buy-in before you need it, be prepared to stumble, and if possible try not to take this journey alone – everyone has a place to contribute.