By Dr. Harry Tennant


by Harry Tennant
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Entries with keyword: run chart
Posts 1 - 2 of 2

Monday, August 10, 2015

The after action review rubric/checklist run chart

I am a big fan of the after action review (AAR)...taking the time to talk about the plan, what went right, what went wrong and what to do differently...after each significant action. It is a simple and effective improvement tool from the military. We use it here at Edclick after tradeshows, big customer meetings and so on.

I am also a big fan of the checklist...a simple tool to ensure you don't skip any steps in a process. One place we use checklists is in setting up systems for new customers. We don't want to inadvertantly leave any steps out. But what about situations where you have to respond on the fly and referring to a checklist would be awkward? For example, we have used checklists for the perfect discussion with a prospect at a tradeshow. It goes from what is the prospect's job to did you ask for their contact info for a follow up demo. You would be amazed at how easy it is to forget the basic stuff in the heat of the moment. For situations like this, the checklist can't be pulled out to check off items. It must be internalized. Well, how good a job do we do following an internalized checklist?

I'm a big fan of the rubric. Checklists with yes/no answers are simpler so are preferable to rubrics. But in cases where a yes/no answer isn't good enough, the rubric is the thing. Rubrics can give a score to each line item.

And I am a big fan of the run chart. Run charts are a great quality tool to show how you are doing in a process over time.

Can we put them all together? You bet.

Create a spreadsheet page where each action (as in after action review) or each assignment (as in writing assignment in school) is represented by a column. Each item in the checklist is represented by a row. If a checklist item didn't get done in a particular action/assignment, mark the corresponding cell. If you're using a rubric instead of a checklist, color code the cell green-yellow-red for a three level score or lighter to darker shades of a color for more score levels. Weather maps and topographical maps have worked out color codes to represtent a wide range of values if you need them.

There you have it. The after action review rubric/checklist run chart. You can see at a glance whether you're improving with time (the run chart benefit) if your color codes are getting better as you move forward in time, left to right on the chart. You can also quickly see the rubric/checklist item that is giving you the most problems, which is the one that should receive special attention until you have it mastered.

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Keywords: continuous improvement, run chart, checklist, after action review, rubric


Monday, August 3, 2015

Show progress with run charts

We all want to know we are making progress. It's not just putting in the time or being busy. We want to know we are getting closer to a worthwhile goal. The game designers are fully aware of this. Progress bars, badges, levels...players are continuously reminded of their progress. And that's one of the reasons games are so compelling.

A simple way to show progress is the run chart. A run chart shows the cumulative progress toward a goal over time. For example, a run chart we use in Edclick shows cumulative revenues per week. At the start of the school year, it restarts at $0. We add the payments we receive each week for the next 52 weeks. The total increases as it goes through the year. It's superimposed on the run charts for the previous several years.

Another run chart is for improvements. We have a goal of 100 improvements per year. The chart is very simple: just a spreadsheet where each column represents a week. As we make an improvement we enter a brief headline for it in the column for the week it was done. Each improvement gets its own row. As we approach row 100, we close in on the goal. By distributing the improvements horizontally in columns, we track that improvements are being made on a regular basis.

Does it apply to teaching? Sure. Some teachers supply students with a list of facts that students should learn in the course. Weekly formative quizzes can include questions from any of these facts, not just what has been covered this week. Chart the student's scores weekly and she sees her progress: a set of scores that increases from left to right. And since quiz questions can come be about any of the facts in the course, students are motivated to review everything before each quiz, inproving retention.

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Keywords: continuous improvement, run chart

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