The St.A.B Pipeline

My background is in animation and games design and production. I have a creative drive and a programming nous, and today I am working in the eLearning arena. I love planning my projects to avoid scope creep and like lots of eLearning professionals I have real trouble getting stakeholders realising that that there needs to be a shared responsibility in the eLearning module production pipeline. It can't just be a suck it and see and change as you go. If all items got created this way then the world will have taken a lot longer to get things like designer automobiles. Automobile manufacture has a well established production pipeline. In fact it gave us the KANBAN an excellent tool for tracking a projects requirements progress. The ADDIE model of eLearning development hints at the need for a proper production pipeline. But I feel it falls a little short. So I have developed St.A.B. the Storyboard, Alpha, Beta production pipeline. Each stage has its own distinct freedoms for change and consequences for a failure to adhere to them. At the Storyboard phase there, there is a huge amount of freedom for both stakeholders (SME)'s and designers and developers to discuss, design and plan the project and its look and feel. Once the projects design and content has been agreed upon and "signed off", the pipeline can move forward into the Alpha phase. In Alpha development can allow changes like wording, interaction, graphics and other assets. so long as these changes don't create a major enough diversion from the original design in Storyboard. If they do then its back to that phase to nut it out again. The deadline WILL change and the budget likely to do the same. But if you get it right and all agree to "sign off", Alpha will transition to Beta. Beta is a very special phase. Changes can only be in relation to a tidying code, fixing grammar and adding finish art. Any new slide or change to navigation should be considered a fall back to Alpha. Again any drastic diversion from the initial agreed design, has to be understood as the Storyboard phase being re initiated. It is all about getting that first design stage nailed down and an understanding that changes after review and sign off of each phase forces the project too return to the previous or first stages. Hopefully your next project goes swimmingly and you have now the means to communicate to stakeholders and customers the importance of abandoning a suck it and see approach.

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