Embedding Instructional Design within the Project Management Process (or getting a seat at the table means successful training roll-outs)*

*With thanks to so many project managers I have worked with and learned from over the years.


Did you know that you can match your training design and development process to project management phases? In this blog post, I will show you how the training design process matches each key project management phase. Using this process helps project managers understand that a proactive approach to developing training starting at phase one (planning) benefits EVERYONE, builds trust, aids in better communication and avoids scrambling to get training done at the 11th hour (which is never pretty or effective)!

The project management phases discussed here are the planning, designing, building, testing, and ultimately deployment phases. Also, not seen but implied and important to instructional design is evaluation and modification during each phase.

So let’s begin by looking at how you can work with the project manager during the Planning phase. In the planning phase it is all about analyzing training requirements and this includes:

  • Conducting in-depth training needs assessments
  • Setting up initial meetings and conversations with subject matter experts (SMEs). Their feedback will be used to develop your customized training program.
  • Developing an initial training plan
  • And resource assessment looking at both external and internal available resources (materials, people, vendors, tools…)


Once you have completed your analysis, and the project team is in the Design phase you need to start working on and thinking about:

  • Creating a customized training plan
  • Submitting the plan for review to the SME (subject matter experts), key team members and end users
  • Collaborating and begin drafting storyboards with SMEs for all essential training materials
  • And drafting training materials based on the storyboard(s) and reviews/comments from the SMEs, key team members and end users


During the next two phases of Building and Testing, you can implement the all-important (cannot say this enough) training Pilot with key subject matter experts and end users that will be using the system, product, or process day-to-day. This allows for testing of the training. The feedback from this phase is invaluable to right any wrongs (what works, what needs to be changed, what needs to be added and what needs to be removed) within your training materials. Pilots ideally should be one to three months (this may be a luxury), but two to three weeks can provide some fantastic feedback.

Some key items in the Building and Testing phases are:

Pilot!!! Am I emphasizing this enough? 🙂

  • Training pilot with key stakeholders, help desk (if technical support) and end users
  • If you are running instructor led or virtual instructor led courses, it is important to deliver a train the trainer course for the pilot staff that will deliver the courses. Essential is to create and include facilitator and participant guides.
  • Analyze the outcomes of the pilot (what worked, what needs to be changed, removed…)
  • Refine and update the materials, methods, etc.
  • And print initial copies, or create PDFs, ready any eLearning pilots, decks (PowerPoint or Slides), performance support (webpage with resources), and guides


Fantastic, now you made it to the Deployment phase where rolling out of the product, process or project is here. Because we have planned and worked alongside the project manager and team, we are ready to roll-out in an organized and almost perfect way. This phase requires evaluating and monitoring the actual training roll-out. Key items in this final phase are:


  • Conducting learning assessments and post analysis reporting (focus groups, surveys, project manager comments and feedback that he/she received…)
  • And development of post go live training support materials


To sum it all up, when a training project follows the project management phases the training is smoother, proactive, and ready for your “go-Live” date. This process also helps to build trust and better communication with the project manager, and because of the smooth training roll-out, you will find that you get a “seat at the table” for their next project.

Andrea Lodato

About Andrea Lodato

IT Global Education Professional. Passionate about elearning, webinars, videos, gamification, cool technology and apps. My motto – learn one new thing a day….

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