Technical enabler, part 1: GOKP

In each of my three most recent jobs, I’ve begun as a content producer and then my role has expanded to include ‘technical enabler.’

This has happened naturally as my bosses have become aware of my knack for applying various technologies to improve the way content is developed, managed, and delivered.

In my current job, I was hired to be an instructional designer — and I do perform traditional ID tasks — but the majority of my work for the past year has entailed designing SharePoint sites, apps, and workflows.

Since early 2016, I’ve been the technical lead for the Gas Operations Knowledge Portal (GOKP), a SharePoint site collection  where users can rapidly find instructional content related to a specific tasks and processes. This site is the training/communications centerpiece of a larger initiative, “Gas Operations Enhanced Field Scheduling,” which was recognized by Training magazine as one of the top five training initiatives of 2016. My contributions are mentioned in the orange text in this excerpt:

In designing the program, PG&E first had to change the way it thought about training—a traditional instructor-led or Web-based training would not meet the business need. The work processes were changing quickly, and with each new geographic area, additional employees needed to be trained. An out-of-date 300-plus-page binder became a knowledge portal, with an end-to-end Visual Process Map (VPM), so users understand the entire process—where they fit, and who they are affecting if they do not perform their job competently. Additionally, everything users need to perform their job function is housed in this portal, including performance support tools such as interactive training guides, how-to videos, guidance documents, job aids, job expectations, and process flows.

This new way of looking at education at PG&E did two things: First, it created greater flexibility for the new demographics of learners at PG&E. Second, it created just-in-time learning (materials learners need, when they need them), where all of the training materials are well situated for either new employee or refresher training.

Results: Past-due work assignments—due to the work being assigned to incorrect resources or scheduling to only a few resources—have decreased by 98 percent. In addition, the reduction in job package errors has saved 8,000 hours in time taken to investigate and resolve. This equates to more than $1.2 million in financial savings.

The success of this project has had a positive effect on my reputation, and the reputation of the consulting company I work for, and the reputation of the PG&E academy department that we support. People are asking for “portals” based on the GOKP design, and my bosses and colleagues are asking me to work on other tech-enabled initiatives.

Partway through the GOKP project, I began work on a site for a different project: a structured on-the-job-training program for supervisors in gas operations. I’ll provide details of this project, and of my design approach, in a later post.