We have probably already addressed some of these questions in the plan document, but need to be sure we address them by the final report - taken from TK7.1
What are the key business issues that must be addressed?
2. How long have the problems existed?
3. What are the consequences of not solving these problems?
4. Which business processes are affected by the problems?
5. What are the performance improvement goals?
6. What is preventing these goals from being achieved?

Background and Client Information

With the tagline of “Helping companies around the world go further, faster” NetApp is a global provider of data management and storage solutions. What started out as an eight-employee startup doing clandestine research in a Fry's Electronics store, has grown to an industry leader with over $3B in revenue and more than 130 offices around the world (from the NetApp website) . Consistently ranked in the top 10 of Fortune’s top 100 Companies to work for, NetApp strives to keep their employees happy.

One of the areas NetApp would like to invest in is the development of engineers brought in as New College Graduates (NCG). Over the next year, NetApp will be increasing the number of NCGs hired into engineering. This will increase the need for having a consistent and thorough NCG development plan in place. Creating an excellent on-boarding program is important to quickly integrating a new person into the company and benefits the person’s long-term retention. Currently, an engineering manager is not able to track their new hire's development in a consistent manner. Managers and NCG would benefit by having a more effective and efficient method to bring a NCG up-to-speed quickly and ensure they are started on a well-planned career path.

In previous years, NetApp has not hired many new college graduates. Hiring in engineering has been for engineers with more experience and knowledge in the data storage industry. Managers are not accustomed to on-boarding NCG and may treat the new college hire like a seasoned engineer. This could lead to mis-communication, mis-placed expectations and frustration on the part of the manager and the NCG.

Although, development plans for engineers are updated and reviewed annually, there are no standards that must be met across departments. Basic pre-hire requirements for engineers, as defined by HR, are communication skills, software programming and scripting skills, teamwork skills and the ability to work on complex projects. Each manager develops his own specific requirements beyond that. There is a 90 day onboarding period, in which peer and/or management mentoring provides cultural inculcation and additional skills training for these NCG.

All new hires attend the company orientation program as well a their organization's orientation program. This helps new hires feel welcomed and where they learn the company's culture, goals and values and how this translates to their organization's culture, goals and values. New engineers have a week of engineering orientation and the NCG have an additional week of hands-on with engineering tools as well as hands-on learning the administration of the company's products. In addition to the company and engineering orientations,NCG need to understand their work group and individual job responsibilities. Having a clear development plan will focus the NCG to build on a core set of workplace competencies consisting of both hard and soft skills for their success and job satisfaction.

This needs analysis project is focused on working with managers to identify which skills are the most important to track and develop for the NCG. Once the skills are identified, we will determine how best to assign these skills using the competency feature in the Saba LMS. We feel that this is as much an opportunity to expand usage of the LMS as well as standardize competencies across business units.

Project Goals

The goal of this project is to identify competencies that will bring consistency to the development of NCG and help the managers of NCG with a standard for planning and tracking of of their NCG's first 90 days. The LMS also allows for further customization and enables managers to add job and project specific skills to the development plan of their NCG. Additional identification of desired attitudes and motivational behaviors will be included.

The competencies needs analysis project team will be presenting our findings to the Engineering Education manager as well as the director of Education Product Development. Reports will include the Project Plan document as well as a final Project Plan with implementation recommendations.


The scope of this project will be the first 90-day development plan for the new college graduate hires. The project would create a roadmap of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that theNCG needs to foster to be successful at their job. A good on-boarding program helps set the tone and expectation of the newly hired person. By adding the development planning and tracking capability into the LMS, this will create a foundational plan for all NCG across the organization. This will also aid a manager who may not be accustomed to working with and developing an NCG.

The LMS competencies needs analysis project team consists of the following:
Assessment team:

Laurie Toyama

  • client liasion
  • data collection
  • data analysis
  • document construction
Chris Pedrick
  • instrument design
  • data analysis
  • diagram/graphics development
  • timeline development
Laura Bailey
  • instrument design
  • data analysis
  • timeline development
  • document construction
Pam Fulwider
  • model analysis
  • instrument design
  • data analysis
  • diagram development
  • editorial

Client stakeholders/ groups :

  • Engineering managers who have/will hire NCG
  • LMS administration team
  • Software development engineers (Dev - NCG)
  • Quality assurance engineers (QA - NCG)

Potential Obstacles

There are potential obstacles that this project may have to deal with.
  • Reluctance by managers to plan and track their NCG's development plan in a formal way or use a tool (LMS system) to accomplish this
  • Managers may not want to learn how to use yet another tool for planning and tracking their NCG's development plan beyond a digital document. The current employee development planning is tracked through a yearly form that is reviewed once a year and not much in between.
  • No standard exists for an NCG development plan
  • Managers may or may not realize that NCG may need more mentoring, hand holding and explicit "how to" instruction than is given to more experienced new engineering hires


The project request is for a competency based development program to be defined for the NCGs. Additionally, that these competencies be incorporated into a career progression aligned with training and development activities. This project will utilize the competency assessment which incorporates gathering data relative to the knowledge, skill, behavior, and attitudes of the NCG. The competency assessment is called for when recruiting, hiring and development of employees is under review, and therefore it aligns directly with the client's request relative to this project. It is expected the results derived from this assessment will increase NCG job satisfaction and retention; both priorities of NetApp management, as clear expectations as well as a clear career development path are the goals of the project.

This assessment will require that we complete the following phases for optimum success:

Preliminary data gathering to identify project viability.


  • project scope
  • client and key players
  • project plan

Data gathering

  • includes developing the data gathering tool(s)
  • completing behavioral (and other?) information gathering
  • Analysis of data

Create competency model

  • competency dictionary
  • competency model

Assess gaps in competency model

  • identify gaps in model

Report preparation

  • Competency model implementation plan
  • Competency model implementation timeline (Gupta, Ch 4, key phases merged with Ch 6, key phases)

This project will utilize portions of several prominent analysis models. Introductory project information relative to issues with retention are linked to a lack of development planning and clear career progressions. This suggests that we take a least a cursory look at Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory, which will be used during cause analysis to determine factors affecting NCG dissatisfaction or satisfaction. Herzberg's theory presumes dissatisfaction results from a lack of factors he labeled hygiene, such as quality of supervision, job, policies and administration, and so on. Herzberg claims, similarly to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, that hygiene factors must be met for employees to move from a dissatisfied and unmotivated position to a satisfied but unmotivated position. Meeting the motivation needs of employees by providing such things as recognition for achievement, responsibility for tasks, and opportunities for advancement and growth, can be expected to move the NCGs into the satisfied and motivated portion of his chart. Initial research on developers’ jog satisfaction indicates that developers fall into two general categories; those who want the hygiene factors such as benefits, policies, and a stable routine working experience, and those who happily work in organizations with poor hygiene factors, but extensive opportunities for growth, creativity and challenge ( This idea from a posting Laura put of an article about Herzberg's theory and software developers which I can't seem to find anymore!)

Flanagan's Critical Incident Technique (CIT) uses interviews and surveys to gather information about incidents, specifically behavioral items as compared to other data gathering techniques which may focus more on perceptions. The purpose of CIT is to uncover organizational problems. See comments within the SAM model for additional discussion on this topic.

The final model which will inform the most significant portion of data analysis will be Marker's Synchronized Analysis Model (SAM)
. SAM is a robust, all-inclusive model whose foundation rests on Gilberts BEM and builds a robust environmental (organizational level) aspect into the process. The SAM seeks to identify root causes- which may not be in the immediate organizational level of the identified symptom.

This model correlates to our expected direction because our preliminary hypothesis is that a lack of a development program negatively impacts retention (performance) of NCGs. It is possible this is caused by circumstances or processes outside the engineering department, perhaps HR policies, or other systems/processes which impact the NCGs directly, or indirectly.
As the data gathering instrument is developed, and later as data is compiled and reviewed it is being aligned with the cells within the SAM, providing a clear visual indicator of the locale within the organizational level where that aspect resides. Data aligning with the hygiene/motivator theory also has a place within the SAM, to permit our evaluation to be as systemic and systematic as possible.

A final component of the SAM is Ishikawa's problem solving technique of asking "why" five times. This process, when plotted on the SAM will clearly align symptom with cause - even across departments or organizational levels.

Data Collection

Data collection activity will be done in three phases. Phase one will be focused on the assessment of the of the core issues facing the onboarding of NCGs. During this phase data collection will accomplished through surveys administered to past NCGs and thier managers. Phase two will involve semistructured interviews involving members from the same groups and will attempt to target the largest number of successful NCGs and managers. Phase two will focus in greater detail on the issues brought out in phase one data on the current development process for onboarding NCGs and the most important skills and knowledge the onboarding process should cover to be successful. During this phase, the use of focus groups will also be considered.

Phase three phase includes the development of a satisfaction and validation instrument to assess the implementation of a structured Development plan for developing NCGs employing the saba LMS. Due to the scope and time available, the phase three instruments will be designed by the team but deployed on completion of the implementation of the proposed intervention. This third phase will ensure evaluation of the intervention and provide for the fine tuning of both the development plan and LMS competency assignment and tracking features employed.

Using the SAM model will allow us to look at both internal and external forces at work affecting the NCG. To determine which items are important, we will interview and survey several different groups of managers/supervisors and engineers/developers. They will all be asked the same “core” group of questions.
(can we organize by groups?):
· NCG New Hires (would there be any to question? – to see what expectations are)
· NCG Engineers/Developers at 3 – 6 months mark (6-12 mo mark)
· NCG Engineers/Developers that have been employed closer to 1 year or more
· Managers/Supervisors

Desired Data
Target Group
or Source

Remarks / Results
Outline current issues related to onboarding and using SAM structure areas of importance/ significance for NCG development


  1. Mgrs/supervisors
  2. NCG post 6 months
respondents: 15-30 pers incl India

Outline Development plan structure, build data from current structure and refine importance of elements

semi-structured interviews to drill down focus if possible on the mgrs etc that were successful)
  1. Mgrs/supervisors
  2. NCG post 6 months

respondents: 15-30 pers incl India
Semi-structured to allow for the questions to be expanded at the discretion of the interviewer and the interviewee, and can be enhanced by probes" (Shensul et al, p. 149)

assess satisfaction with onboarding interventions and validation of items tracked from 90 day onboarding D Plan

  1. Mgrs/supervisors
  2. NCG post 6 months

respondents: 15-30 pers incl India
This tool will need to be revisited during the summer o/ c Development Plan finalization

Assessment of satisfaction(level I Kirkpatrick) and validation of T, S, and K in D Plan (and assigned/ tracked in LMS?)
external image insert_table.gif

Why do people leave? (are there specific differences between US and India?) Are development plans in use? Are/ have they been effective?
What existing data is there? (engagement survey, exit survey data, interview mngrs and 1+yr NCGs)
satisfaction (level I Kirkpatrick) and validation of T, S, and K in D Plan (and assigned/ tracked in LMS?)

red is notes from SAM model

blue is from Herzberg model

The instruments could be broken into sections based on the SAM model:
What Level is the problem?
What are the Causes?







· Working Conditions (Hygiene)
· Quality of Supervision (Hygiene)
· Company policies and administration (Hygiene)

· Recognition for achievement
· Achievement


· Working Conditions (Hygiene)

· Responsibility for task
· Advancement to higher level tasks

· Interest in the job
· Growth
· Salary (Hygiene)
· Interpersonal relations (Hygiene)

Hygiene Factors (not placed in table yet):
· Status
· Security
· Company
· Job

Expected deliverables

NA Report of findings and recommendations including the following Annexes
Annex A -
Annex B - survey / interview guides produced for three phases
  • B1 phase i - instruments
  • B2 phase ii - instruments
  • B3 phase iii - instrument draft

Annex C - data (survey results and notes from interviews)
Annex D-
annotated list of references for saba docs
Annex E - detailed table of findings conclusions and recommendations
Annex F - draft Implementation Plan for assignment and tracking of competencies in LMS
Annex G - Lessons Learned