Pilot Groups or Sandboxes: Which Is Better for Your Implementation

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It’s always a good idea when we’re creating change or implementing something new to make every attempt to mitigate our mistakes. In software development, many organizations use a process called agile to do that. Agile is when a larger process is broken down into smaller steps or milestones. After each step, the development team debriefs their progress and makes any necessary revisions moving forward. 

The idea behind agile is, if we evaluate our work at milestones, then we might mitigate a future mistake. But today’s post isn’t about agile. It’s about implementation and evaluation. 

In the learning and development function, instructional designers build in a testing phase to make sure a training session flows the way it was designed. That testing phase is often referred to as a pilot group. The pilot group participants not only attend the training, but they provide design feedback. This allows the instructional design team to make final adjustments before the program goes live to the entire organization.

During last year’s HR Technology Conference, I heard a new term – sandbox environment. My take is that sandboxes are another way to test before going live. Now, I will admit that everything I’ve seen to date on sandboxes is related to software development, but I do wonder if it would be something that we can use outside of it, given that we talk of agile quite successfully outside of software development. 

Just in case you’re wondering, the term sandbox comes from the children’s play area. A sandbox simulates the beach or some other locale. Children are able to play and discover – safely – in a smaller version. Software sandboxing does the same thing. It creates a smaller environment that can be used to test the software before it goes live. It does seem to me that pilot groups and sandboxes – while they have the same ultimate goal – are two different things. 

Pilot groups present a finished product to a group for feedback. The feedback group is typically composed of part of the audience that the product or program has been designed for. The program may or may not have changes made based on the feedback received….

Source: hr bartender

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