Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Achieving Functional Excellence in Development Programs

There are so many different resources and recommended learning programs out there that it makes one’s head spin.  The more we send our employees on uncoordinated, non-sequential and non-strategic training jaunts to check the box of “we offer training”, the more confused and, ironically, uneducated in the areas of their functional responsibility they become.  There is, after all, no greater threat to any program than people who know just enough to be dangerous.

An intelligently designed training program for your staff, especially Procurement, Contracts, Grants and Finance staff can lead to nonpareil functional excellence in the areas which represent the back bone of a solid and effective development program management.

Having been around a bit, I have now finally noodled out that a good training program consists of three main categories of training, provided online or in classroom (on regular and repetitive basis) for all existing and incoming employees:

General Mandatory Training –these would be training sessions on topics mandated by state, federal or local laws and regulations as well as those specific to the corporate status of each entity, as well US Government mandated training topics for its contractors and grantees.

Functional Mandatory Training – this would consist of basic training courses which link each person’s functional category/position/job description to the standards of excellence expected of them by the company.  For example: Understanding company’s Procurement Policy for Procurement staff, Finance SOP for finance staff etc.  This would also include continuous education courses for those who would like to progress and deepen their knowledge of their chosen functional area/field.  These should be designed with built in exams, to assess the progress and understanding of advanced topics, and linked to promotion opportunities within the chosen category.  For example:  Contracting Officer 1 with $100,000 warrant and signatory authority upon completion of Basics to Contracting Officer 2 with $1,000,000 warrant and signatory authority upon completion of Advanced and so on.

Functional and Cross Functional Elective Training - these could be almost anything designed to deepen personnel’s knowledge of their own or adjacent functional categories.  For example:  Procurement Personnel learning about Grants or Finance staff being apply to apply for Procurement Positions within the company.

As an example of a good program, addressing all three categories of training, I would like to use my Functional Excellence Training Dream Plan for Contracts & Grants staff working on USG (primarily USAID and DoS) programs:

General Mandatory (All Staff across Functional Categories)
·       Ethics and Business Conduct
·       Ethics and Business Conduct Compliance: Cross-Cultural Component (include cross cultural element for all countries of performance)
·       Business Etiquette and Professionalism
·       Cultural Diversity in Workplace
·       Overview of Company:  Core Competency, History, Past Experience, Mission, Vision, Current Strategy
·       Safety & Security in Workplace (include global component if necessary)
·       Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Overseas Programs
·       Protection Against Sexual Exploitation (PSEA)
·       Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
·       Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Aid
·       Anti-Harassment
·       Timekeeping and Time Allocation (including use of Work Authorizations and CAS considerations)
·       Contract/Award Brief and Overview of Terms and Conditions – for projected dedicated staff specific to their contract/award

Functional Mandatory: Contracts & Grants Staff
All of the above +

·       Basic: Procurement Policy Overview and Procurement
·       Basic: Grants Overview: Grants under Assistance, Grants under Contract  
·       Basic: Subcontract and Vendor Management
·       Basic: Subgrantee Management
·       Basic: Audit Readiness for Pass Through Instruments (subcontractors, subgrantees, grants under contract etc.)
·       Basic: Procurement & Grant Fraud Awareness, Mitigation and Prevention:  Best Practices
·       Advanced: Assistance & Acquisition Instruments in Depth
·       Advanced: Procurement Methods, Best Practices and Records
·       Advanced: Grant Methods, Best Practices and Records
·       Advanced: Cost Principles in Depth
·       Advanced: Identification and Treatment of Unallowable Costs

Functional and Cross Functional Elective:  Contracts & Grants Staff

All of the above +

·       Advanced Plus: Property Management
·       Advanced Plus: USAID Project Management Cradle to Grave Basics:
Proposal-Negotiation-Implementation-Close Out-Audit
·       Advanced Plus: Effective Communication and Presentation Skills
·       Advanced Plus: Teaming Agreements
·       Advanced Plus:  Foreign Language
·       Cross: Direct & Indirect Cost Policy Overview
·       Cross: Financial Management of USG Contracts
·       Cross: Financial Management of USG Awards
·       Cross: Program Start Up and Close Out
·       Cross: Monitoring & Evaluation: Effective Design and Implementation of M&E Programs

1 comment:

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