Performance Support Maturity (PSM): A Performance Support Rebirth
Performance Support: By Frank Nguyen,August 13, 2012
Performance Support: “It will become increasingly important to be able to develop a cohesive strategy on how performance support integrates with your learning strategy and how it impacts business performance. It will become essential to identify strengths and weaknesses in your PS strategy and supporting processes to drive continuous improvement. It is critical for us in this field that we evaluate an organization’s maturity in performance support.”
Performance Support: The Renaissance was a movement that transformed European culture and intellectual thought for the better part of three centuries. Though the roots of the Renaissance can be traced back to Italy starting in the early 14thcentury, it was not until Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press a century later that its ideas and influence accelerated across the continent.Performance support (PS) was a movement introduced with much excitement and expectation almost three decades ago. Gloria Gery challenged the traditional notions of enabling performance through just-in-case training and advocated instead for just-in-time learning that occurred in the workplace. She argued that rather than providing vast quantities of learning to employees outside the context of work, we should instead provide “individualized on-line access to the full range of … systems to permit job performance.” (Editor’s Note: Please see the References listed at the end of this article.)Like Europe centuries ago, performance support is currently experiencing rejuvenation – a performance support renaissance, if you will. Since Gery’s introduction, empirical research and case studies have made us smarter about when and how to best implement performance support. Web 2.0 technologies have made performance support easier and less costly for organizations to adopt. The eLearning Guild’s upcoming Performance Support Symposium is the first dedicated industry event in more than 10 years.At more than any other point in its history, performance support appears ready to significantly transform the field of learning and performance.
Performance support maturity
As we witness a rebirth of performance support, it will soon be insufficient for organizations to simply declare, “Yes, we have a performance support system.” It will become increasingly important to be able to develop a cohesive strategy on how performance support integrates with your learning strategy and how it impacts business performance. It will become essential to identify strengths and weaknesses in your PS strategy and supporting processes to drive continuous improvement. It is critical for us in this field that we evaluate an organization’s maturity in performance support.
Arguably, the best-known maturity model is the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) developed at Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute and documented by Mark Paulk and his colleagues. They designed CMM to be an objective tool to assess an organization’s software development processes. It is a framework that you can use to categorize a software organization’s internal practices against five levels of maturity ranging from chaotic processes (level 1) to optimal processes (level 5).
Similarly, we’ll explore a Performance Support Maturity (PSM) model. Rather than focusing on software practices, the intent of PSM is to objectively assess your organization’s performance support practices. Using this information, you will be able to identify areas to enhance your PS efforts, future targets to invest time or money, and opportunities to drive continuous improvement.
<H2>Factors that drive performance support maturity
As shown in Figure 1, there are five factors you can use to measure your organization’s performance support maturity.
Figure 1: The performance support maturity grid
When organizations first adopt performance support, it is common that employees will access content using an external interface such as a search engine, a Webpage with a list of common questions, or even a printed job aid. Gloria Gery noted this as far back as 1995. Such methods to interface content require the least amount of dollar investment and are rapidly deployable from a time-to-market perspective.
As organizations mature in their performance support capabilities, one of the initial strategies to enhance the adoption and effectiveness of PS …
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