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Performance Analysis Flow Diagram
DescriptionMager and Pipe in their book, Analyzing Performance Problems or You really Oughta Wanna, provide a quick overview of their Performance Analysis Flow Diagram and a large amount of case studies related to each portion of the flow. Mager and Pipe’s analysis model uses a series of questions to create a comprehensive method to analyze a performance problem to determine the appropriate solution. The best thing about this model is that you do not have to answer all of the questions to come to a solution. Some performance problems will require only answers to three questions, while others could take all thirteen.
What is Analysis in this context? Analysis involves defining what the best practice for a particular job is and then defining what performance is being exhibited by the workers. Those who are not completing the job using the best practice are identified as having a problem. Analysis is often brought in when a problem is identified and involves looking at a situation and determining the best solution.
Practitioners have a variety of ways of completing an analysis. There is a task analysis, which looks at jobs as they are completed within a series of tasks. Each task is reviewed to determine best practices and areas for improvement. A Needs analysis or Needs Assessment reviews the entire job to identify areas of opportunity within the whole job being performed. Mager and Pipe complete a performance analysis by asking questions about various influences on performance, such as perception of the person requesting an intervention, unspoken or cultural influences on behavior, and challenges presented by the task itself.
Mager and Pipe have created a flow chart that defines key components of the analysis process in the form of questions. The questions should be asked in the order that they are written. If you are able to resolve the performance discrepancy at one point, then you may stop.
|Question||Definition / Details|
|1. What is the performance discrepancy?||“Differences between what people are actually doing (or not doing) and what they should be doing.” (Mager, pg.9)|
|2. Is it worth pursuing?||“…it’s always appropriate to wonder if you are dealing with just a point of view that sees the ‘problem’ as considerably larger than it actually is.” (Mager, pg.17)|
|3. Can we apply fast fixes?|| Check for: |
|4. Is desired performance punishing?||“We need to be sure that this linkage of actions and consequences is not working against us, with punishing consequences following desired actions.” (Mager, pg. 43)|
|5. Is undesired performance rewarding?||“Performance may not be as expected because some other way of performing is actually rewarding….find out what happens to them when they don’t do it the ways they’re expected to do it. (Mager, pg. 61)|
|6. Are there any consequences at all?||“…a performance discrepancy continues to exist… [because] it simply makes no difference whether the people perform or not.” (Mager, pg. 75)|
|7. Is it a skill deficiency?||“…are non-performers not performing as desired because they don’t know how to do it?” (Mager, pg. 94)|
|8. Could they do it in the past?||“Could they do it in the past? If they could, they should require far less training to get them back up to speed than if they never knew how to perform in the first place.” (Mager, pg. 102)|
|9. Is the skill used often?||“It is not uncommon for people to discover that, even though they once knew how to do something well, they’ve either lost their ‘edge’ or last entirely the ability to do what once they did with ease.” (Mager, pg. 107)|
|10. Can the task be simplified?||“…it’s always worthwhile – and particularly if the solution calls for significant time and effort – to see if the job itself can be modified so that the person performing will be more likely to succeed.” (Mager, pgs. 113-114)|
|11. Any obstacles remaining?|| “…instead of ‘changing the worker,’ you should consider whether it might be better to ‘change the job.’” (Mager, pg. 126) |
Some of these changes might be due to:
|12. Do they have what it takes?||“You can make all of the changes that you like; but if an individual doesn’t have what it takes, either mentally or physically, to do the job, the changes are a waste of time.” (Mager, pg. 142)|
|13. Which solution is best?|| Mager summarizes this section of his Performance Analysis Flow Chart as follows: |
1. “Collect all of the potential solutions that address the issues revealed by your analysis”
2. “Determine or estimate the cost of implementing each solution”
3. “Select the solution(s) that will add the most value”
4. “Draft a brief action plan that describes, for each solution, how it will be put into practice and who will do the work.” (Mager, pg. 159)
Case Study #1: Truck Drivers“’Our department has a dozen truck drivers. They’re all safe drivers, except one, and he costs about two hundred thousand dollars per year in property damage and ill will. We never know when he’s going to hit somebody. And he’s also erratic in his private driving, as his records shows. He’s run over a gas pump, run over a customer’s wet concrete, and so on.’
‘Is it a skill deficiency, do you think?’
‘No, because most months his driving is perfect.’
‘Hmm. What happens when he does have an accident?’
‘Then he gets a lot of attention from his cronies. They gather around him and ask him to recount the episode while they chuckle “Old Boney’s done it again,” they’ll say, and he gets to tell it again.’
‘By the way, what happens to your good drivers?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘What is the consequence of having a good driving record?’
‘We don’t do anything special for the good drivers; that’s what we expect of them.’
(Mager, pg. 68)
Often the work needs to be re-designed to take out behaviors that are rewarding and yet work in direct opposition to a productive workforce. What is great about this model is that you can show your stakeholders the exact questions that you plan to address when you begin the analysis. There will be no question about what you are looking for. As they read the questions, the stakeholders can answer the questions for themselves. The stakeholders know that the job design is going to be reviewed for effectiveness. There should be no surprises for the stakeholders.
Case Study #2: Production Line“On a production line making very tiny products, for example, a foreman complained that one woman made considerably more mistakes than anyone else. Like the others, she peered through a binocular microscope to see the tiny parts and to assist with their assembly. She assembled the same product as the others, and under the same conditions. She was considerably ‘clumsier’ than the others. The foreman wanted to get rid of her – that was his solution.
"This case came to the attention of the department concerned with training and performance, and its members looked around and asked questions. They quickly discovered that this worker was not looking through the microscope with both eyes as she should have been. She looked with only one eye at a time. She didn’t know that looking with both eyes at the same time made any difference when the instrument was properly adjusted. But without the depth perception that comes with using both eyes simultaneously, she could not see well enough to assemble accurately. Hence, she was labeled ‘clumsy.’
"After only two or three minutes of instruction in the proper use of the microscope, the woman’s work was the equal of all the others in the department. She wasn’t clumsy, or unmotivated, or incapable of learning. She was simply prevented from doing the job well by lack of information. In this example, ‘transfer or terminate’ was not the remedy – a little bit of training was.”(Mager, pg. 142)
This case study is a great example of how a manager’s view of a performance situation can be skewed. This is often not an intentional bias, but is simply the side effect of a busy workplace. The manager has to make a quick assessment of a situation, often without the tools of analysis a performance technologists in training and human resources might have. As a consultant, the solution has expanded a manager’s way of looking at an employee’s job. In the future, alternative solutions will come from the manager rather than being bumped up to another department for review.
ExpertsThere are several learning theories of note in analysis. A decision about what analysis method is used is often a matter of preference; however, it can also be a matter of the type of project being analyzed. Mager and Pipe contains elements of all of these theories, opting to address analysis from a different perspective or on a larger scale.
- Allison Rossett’s Training Needs Assessment was designed to focus on the intervention of training. Mager and Pipe’s Performance Analysis Flow Diagram addresses training in question 13, when a solution must be identified. They do not assume training is the solution.
- Thomas Gilbert’s BEM divides analysis concerns into two sections: environmental analysis and personal analysis. On the environmental side, data, instruments and incentives are reviewed to determine areas of opportunity to improve performance. On the personal side, the knowledge, capacity and motives of the individual worker are reviewed to determine opportunities for performance improvement. Gilbert provides six factors to consider and the questions that you ask in your analysis are your own, rather than those provided by Mager and Pipe. BEM spends a lot of time in Mager and Pipe’s first question “What is the performance discrepancy?” by attempting to identify which of the six factors are acting on the workers. Questions 6, 7, 8 and 12 also play a part in using the BEM Model to ultimately answer question #13.
- Joe Harless’s theory of Front-End Analysis is similar to Mager and Pipe’s model through the use of questions.
Early in analysis, they attempt to determine if a performance problem exists. Harless, however, spends less time determining the motivations behind behavior and more time determining the nature of the solutions, including subclasses of the solutions and how much the solution would cost as individual questions.
TrendsThe following trends were taken from a 2006 article by Allison Rossett.
- Data Hounds for Analysis and Evaluation “Executive wants to know what is happening and why. They seek targeted solutions resulting in tangible strategic benefits” (Pershing, 219). Mager and Pipe address this trend by asking several questions which result in hard data to be presented to upper management.
- Performance Consulting “Ten years ago, performance technology was a good idea. Now it is a career path” (Pershing, 220). Mager and Pipe address this trend by providing a solid analytical foundation for performance technologists to analyze a performance problem. This foundation includes looking at a problem from many sides to insure that nothing is missed. The model also asks questions in a specific order designed to find the problem as quickly as possible to create quick resolution. Often the most important question asked is “Is it worth pursuing?” Consulting is about providing correct and timely solutions to your stakeholder. This includes the ability to say no.
- Converging Learning, Performance and Work. With the convergence of learning, performance and work, there is a trend to accept that analysis and evaluation provide sign posts for various interventions beyond training, “leading the profession to revisit old friends, documentation and job aids, and to consider new pals, performance support, workflow learning…and captology” (Pershing, pg.220). Mager and Pipe address this trend by creating an analysis process that looks at various interventions.
ReferencesChyung, S. Y. (2005). Human performance technology: From Taylor’s scientific management to Gilbert’s behavior engineering model. Performance Improvement Journal, 44(1), 23-28.
Chyung, S. Y. (2007). Foundations of instructional and performance technology. Amherst, MA: HRD Press.
Gilbert, T. (1996) Human competence: Engineering worthy performance (Tribute edition. Washington, DC: The International Society for Performance Improvement.
Harless, J. (1973). An analysis of front-end analysis. Improving Human Performance: A Research Quarterly, 4, 229-244.
Keller, J. (1987). Strategies for stimulating the motivation to learn. Performance and Instruction, 26(8), 1-7.
Krathwohl, D.R. (2002) A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy: An Overview. Theory in Practice, 212-218.
Mager, Robert; Pipe, Peter. (1997) Analyzing Performance Problems or You Really Oughta Wanna. (Third Edition) CEP Press: Atlanta, GA.
O’Connor, B.N., Bronner, Michael, Delaney, C. (2002) Training for Organizations. Cincinnati: South-Western Educational Publishing.
Pershing, James. A. (2006) Handbook of Human Performance Technology. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.
Rosenberg, M. C. (1982) The ABCs of ISD. Training and Development Journal, 44-50.
Rummler, Geary. (1982) Instructional Technology and Organization Performance: An Historical Perspective. NSPI Journal, 9-11.
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