How A Task-Analysis Mindset Improves the Design Process

Defining tasks when you are evaluating and planning a project can help you:

  • Understand the scope of the project
  • Determine the component parts of the solution
  • Organize the development process

Whether you a contractor or permanent designer, we all need to be able to present the scope of a project and the resources needed to stakeholders and being an expert at task analysis will help you achieve that.

Let’s start by the review of what a task is. A task is a piece of work that needs to be accomplished as a part of a job. Tasks are made up of steps that need to be taken to complete the task. Sometimes these steps are a task themselves, often referred to as a subtask. The idea is to break down job tasks to their smallest components to fully understand what a person needs to understand or accomplish in order to do the job.

Understanding the Scope of the Project

One of the great things about being task-analysis minded is that it helps you to develop questions to ask to define the project. In order to be able to break down the goals of the project into specific tasks you need to understand:

  • The processes or attitudes that learners need to adopt
  • Who the learners are and what their background knowledge is
  • What the measure of success will be

Considering these as you interview the SME or clients for the project and listening for the answers in terms of the tasks will help make sure you probe for the information you to fully understand the scope of the project. This may not all happen in in one conversation but over time.

When you are task-minded, you start by looking for an understanding of each task. This means breaking down the goals of the project to the task steps that fit the audience. By doing this you outline the full scope of the project, which helps you determine necessary resources, and helps you present this to the stakeholder or client.

Determining the Component Parts of the Solution

When you are thinking from a task perspective, it is easy to take the scope of the project and group it into like chunks that will go together. Understanding these tasks or groups of tasks, you can easily evaluate which ones are best resolved as training, what is best served with a job aid, or what can be resolved with an environmental change or other performance improvement solution. The task-analysis mindset helps you to quickly see the pieces and start to see how the solution can go together to best leverage the advantages of different types of solutions.

Organize the Development Process

Once you have identified the tasks and the solutions to be used, it is easy to prioritize the development process and allocate resources appropriately. If you are the sole person doing the project, you can easily determine the order that development needs to happen for the different tasks and make sure that it lays out efficiently and those pieces that could get stalled later are done first or those things that might change as the project progresses are done later so as not to do them.

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