Strategic training has been defined as one that aligns a company’s objectives with everyday training needs. It is a comprehensive framework that strikes a balance between the need for training and organizational constraints.
Ed Trolley, the co-author of “Running Training Like a Business,” doesn’t use the term strategic training, but his vision of how to run a training organization is inclusive of many of the principles previously described. He speaks to a training organization that substantially, and visibly, contributes to the fulfillment of the customer’s business strategy.
Raymond Noe, the author of “Employee Training and Development,” believes that the goal of strategic training is to assist the organization in meeting it is business strategy. Strategic training organizations partner with their internal clients through frequent communication.
Another important attribute of a strategic training organization is the ability of the team to change focus as the business changes focus. This is where agile is helpful.
In the agile process, teams are in constant contact with their business partners. There is ongoing communication about the programs that the training team is working on for them. Business partners have numerous opportunities to re-prioritize, add, eliminate and make changes to the programs in development.
Kent Beck, one of the founders of agile software development, defines agile as a development method that’s based on iterative and incremental development (where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self organizing, cross functional teams). He goes on to point out that agile supports flexibility and rapid response to change.
In agile, alignment with the client’s strategic objectives is obtained through the creation of a product backlog or prioritized list of all of the requirements that must ultimately be turned into learning solutions.
The act of maintaining this backlog, and ensuring that the item contained on this list are aligned with the business strategy, is called backlog grooming. Agile teams meet regularly with their business partners to ensure that whatever the training team is working on is aligned with the business needs of the organization, and are the items that are the most important to the customer.