Recently, I was asked to create a roadmap for a training course for new hires. The planned course duration is 90 – 120 days.
My responsibilities included drafting the specific, detailed tasks and expectations to be performed on a weekly basis, plus create a one-page visual summary – the roadmap of the 4 months. Together, these would be submitted for review and approval to launch the actual course development for an entire team of instructional designers.
The newly hired employees will not have any knowledge of the organizational culture, the product or solutions available for their future customers. Although the new employees arrive to the organization as experienced sales professionals, their skills originate from other products within other industries. These seasoned professionals will have a lot to learn within the first 90 – 120 day period. They will need many resources, but for the most part, they will be self-motivated, focused and ready to start the journey to successful territory management (i.e. sales commissions).
As I was creating and developing this roadmap, I had a variety of software products to utilize to develop the requested materials. Within the client’s training department, there are several approved authoring tools available to create visual concepts, detailed instructor-led courses, eLearning courses, and course materials. Within the organization, I had the choice of Microsoft Office products and Adobe family of products.
I tested the sample chapter of the Participant’s Guide within both Microsoft Word and Adobe Publisher. For the roadmap, I tested a short visual using Microsoft Visio and Adobe InDesign with resources, due dates and relevant milestone event identified. In a later post, I will review which product(s), I ultimately selected and my reasons. Although, I have authored many user guides, participant guides, instructor materials, QRG, etc over the years, I had rarely created a roadmap as a visual tool.
Frankly, my personal style lends itself to lists – step 1, step 2, step 3, etc. This represented an opportunity to stretch my skills, research current designs, and trends for using roadmaps. Unexpectedly, an array of choices and styles were available for multiple authoring tools. Each requiring that I research the differences, the flexibility for anticipated, future revisions, and flexibility for others to modify when I move on to the next client.
Funny, how no matter how knowledgeable and experienced we are in our skill set, there are points throughout the roadmap of our professional lives where you must research and learn new skills. We may need to develop new mental muscles to prepare us for a different route never before taken.
The process of managing this project brought to mind several questions:
- How do we recognize when it is time to strengthen our current skills?
- Should we wait until start a new position or new career – to verify what’s needed?
- If we choose to proactive, what strategies or tools will we need to get ready – to drive forward, to be successful in our pursuit of new skills?
- Should we create our own roadmaps at the beginning of our careers – complete with possible detours, bumps, mountains, and valleys?
- Should we only use the power of positive thinking and plan only for success?