A One-day Workshop for new hires in a tech company

Staff Development ORLD 5055

Training & Development Program Proposal (Project #1)

Linying Wang

Executive Summary

For newly recruited employees in tech companies, it’s of vital importance that they understand the company’s products and goals, while making innovations. It’s also important for employees with different functions to efficiently collaborate with each other to deliver a compelling tech product. Thus, instilling the sense of product and providing an opportunity for newly recruited employees to work together are vital.

Meanwhile, in tech companies, miscommunication between developers, designers and product managers can often happen, partly because of the traditional linear workflow, and partly because the lack of knowledge of other functions’ nature of work. For example, a designer might not understand the difficulty of implementing a novel UI, while a developer might not see the necessity of developing a pixel perfect UI according to the design.

In order to decrease the possible chances of miscommunication in future work, the workshop is aiming to provide a collaborative open environment to give them enough chance to understand each other’s work. The workshop also encourages an agile development environment instead of a linear one so that every function can be on the same page and understand their goal.

Note that the workshop doesn’t offer specific lectures on the skills needed to develop a tech product, for example, how to do user experience research, how to build apps, etc, because these are the skills the employees are supposed to possess before they can be hired.

 

Program Goals

The one-day workshop will help participants:

  • Understand the company’s products and goals
  • Identify and articulate the problems and user needs within the domain of the company’s products
  • Be familiar with the agile/lean process of product development
  • Understand the nature of work, difficulties, and constraints of other functions
  • Learn to efficiently collaborate with other functions
  • Design and develop a product in compliance with the problem, user needs and business goals

When participants leave this workshop, they will be expected to (deliverables in groups):

  • Clearly articulate a problem they are trying to solve in a domain related to the company’s business
  • Design and prototype a minimum viable product (MVP) as the solution to the problem
  • Develop a functional MVP (doesn’t have to be fully functional due to the time constraint)

 

Target Audience

The workshop targets newly recruited employees in tech companies, specifically UI/UX designers, developers, and product managers.

 

Expected Outcomes

It is expected that the workshop will give the participants enough exposure to their future work environments and colleagues and to the business goals. Business outcomes include:

  • Decrease the time new employees need to be engaged in projects
  • Increase the efficiency of product development
  • Decrease the chances of possible miscommunication between functions
  • Add more innovative ideas to improve the company’s current products

 

Evaluation Plan

The success of this workshop will be measured on 4 levels:

  1. Within one week of workshop completion, participants will be asked to complete a satisfaction survey.
  2. Within three months of workshop completion, participants will be asked to complete a survey on collaboration and see if they find the workshop helpful.
  3. The quality of the Minimum Viable Product each group created.
  4. The feedback from the mentor of each group.


Course Content Outline

Time Content Outline
10 mins    I.     Training goals and objectives, business goals, process of the workshop
15 mins II.     Ice Breaking Game – Remember 3 Facts

Each person finds another person and tells him/her 3 fun facts about him/herself while exchanging name/ID card, the other person does the same and should remember the facts, and pass on to another person. Finally they need to correctly tell the 3 facts of the person on the name/ID card they have.

70 mins III.     Challenge – Identifying a problem

a.     Dividing into groups

Each trainee draws a challenge card from a certain number of different challenges each representing a field related to the company’s current product fields (e.g. listening to music, shopping, etc). The number of the challenges should be proportionate to this ratio of the number of developers, designer and product manager: 2:1:1. Those who draw the same challenge will form a group and work together. One mentor will be assigned to each group to help and guide them.

b.     Identifying one problem

Each group should try to identify and clearly articulate a problem in each field representing on the challenge card by doing research (interviewing other groups and searching online, or even field visits) within 1 hour, but they cannot just “copy” from existing products on the market.

90 mins IV.     Lunch Break & Social
70 mins   V.     Challenge – Designing a tech product as the solution

a.     Ideation

b.     Rapid Prototyping

Each group comes up with a solution to the problem and rapidly prototypes a design of their Minimum Viable Product within 30 mins.

c.     Testing

Groups test the prototypes among each other and give feedback. (15 min each)

d.     The Guessing Game

Each group guesses and writes down the problem other groups are trying to solve based on the known challenges, seals it in an envelope and gives to the facilitator. The results will be revealed at the end of the workshop to see whether the solutions rightly target the problems.

20 mins VI.     Break
120 mins VII.     Challenge – Developing a MVP & A Taste of being a developer

a.     Developers in each group begin a rapid development of the MVP in 2 hours.

b.     Designer and product manager will also follow along to get a sense of how developers work.

30 mins VIII.     Tea Break
50 mins IX.     Presentation & Voting

a.     Group Pitch Presentation

b.     Voting (during presentation)

Each group votes to categories such as: best design, best coded, love the most, etc

c.      The Guessing Game Again

Play the guessing game again to see whether a developed product has any changes compared to the prototype and whether this changes others’ opinion on the problem trying to solve.

15 mins       X.     Reward/Conclusion/ Debrief

a.     Revealing the guessing results to each group privately

b.     Reward Ceremony

The group with the largest number of closest guesses wins the “Best Solution” prize, with other rewards given to the most votes in each category. The group without any rewards will still be given some attendance gifts.

         c.     Debrief

Total Duration (Excluding breaks): 6 hours


 

Implementation Plan

The workshop needs to have 4-5 mentors to help and guide each group (one per group based on the number of groups; 4 people each group; assuming 16-20 people per workshop). The mentor is an experienced employee in product management, design or development, ideally who has been in charge of a project. The mentor will observe the team working at the most of the time, and give some advice when asked by the participants or when the mentor feels it’s necessary, but the mentor should not act like a leader and tries to take control over the group.

 

Several months before the workshop, there will be a recruiting process, followed by instructions and tips sent by email. Also it’s better that the mentor is not the direct report of the employees to avoid any pressure. Compensation will be given to the mentors.

 

Budget

The budget below represents variable costs of creating and implementing the workshop. The workshop was designed and developed with internal resources.

 

Assumptions:

  • Training done in local markets to minimize travel
  • 16-20 participants per workshop (number varies based on the actual number of new employees)
  • 4-5 mentors per workshop (number varies based on the number of participants)
  • Lunch and afternoon tea estimated at $30 per person
  • Training done at offsite conference center to minimize interruptions

 

 

Conference center rental 1 day $10,000
Lunch & Afternoon tea $480 – 600
Compensation for mentors @ $300 per $1200 – 1500
Total $11,680 – 12,100

 

 

 

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