How many on your team?

Hi fellow "Heroes"!

I know that many of us work on small teams or are the lone star in the eLearning design and development teams. I'd love to hear from a few others about how things go in your world. How many people are on your design/development team? And about how many projects do you complete each year/month?

I was previously the only one on my team, but in the past couple of years, we added a developer and an ID to the team (and they're both brilliant!). Of course, our project load continues to increase. At the beginning of the year, I had a list of about 80+ projects that were scheduled, and that's a completely unrealistic number. We have some major projects happening (introducing a new knowledge platform and LMS) that require work in addition to sustaining and creating learning resources. 

I'm trying to get a sense of what's realistic. I've been told I can't expand the team, so my only alternative is to chop projects, which of course, the business doesn't like.

So, what's really happening in your world?

13 Replies
Christopher Cummins

At my community college, I work in the Continuing Education division. I've managed to increase my team from 1 to 4 in four years. One of my team members is a student worker, which is a rotating position and requires training every 6 months to 2 years.  I also have a full time staff member who does double duty taking care of the psychical building needs as well as story-boarding and design. The last member to make up my team is a part time employee who does design primarily.

In our little division alone, we have enough on our plate to keep us busy for almost a year without starting any new projects.My suggestion is to keep showing the value in what your creating to the 'powers that be'.

I'd love to expand my team. I don't if it's my area or not, but during the last hiring process I had trouble getting enough qualified applicants for the hiring process.

Phil Mayor

I suppose I best qualify my statement each module was at least 25 minutes long with a minimum of three review stages and User acceptance testing on completion.

I worked as the Education lead for the Cancer Network at the time and my time was split between this project and my other role.  I had a full-time developer who was working on these alongside me (I did two days a week).  We completed 120 modules and launched our new LMS on time and in budget.  I also completed 5 other modules including a huge 300 slide module for MacMillan.

I would look more at the process and try and tie that down within the organisation, set expectations for reviews ensure timeliness of reviews, often people try and throw bodies at a solution and it doesn't work, look at ways of work leaner, faster (can you reuse elements).  Is it possible to build templates that would speed up delivery, slowing down now may speed you up later.  I hate to recommend the painting by numbers solutions, but if you stop taking on new projects the organisation may stop seeing the value of what you offer.

Kim Hannan

Thanks for the responses!

A bit more about how we work:

  • We create custom graphics for our projects, and reuse as much as possible. My ID and I do all our graphics.
  • Our courses are scenario-based. We avoid "text and next" like the plague. 
  • Many are gamified, but in a realistic format, meaning no jeopardy or trite games. We simulate real-life scenarios as much as possible, so we try to avoid multiple-choice questions and just Correct/Incorrect feedback.
  • Everything is customized, and we cover the entire business, from facilities and maintenance to legal compliance to sales and leadership... and software too. 
  • We have a solid process. We realized we needed to tighten it up, and spent some time last year working through that and have seen great improvements this year.
  • While we look for efficiencies and do have some templates, we find the most impactful learning solutions for our organization are not cookie-cutter solutions. 
  • We're crazy passionate about creating awesome learning experiences, not just "another online course they have to take." Our employees are usually excited to see what we're creating. They ask for more. 

I spoke at ELCE last year, and after speaking with others in the room, several of them said things along the lines of, "I'd love to do what you all do, but we're only a team of 6" or 12 or whatever. The three of us chuckled. 

Bruce Graham

I guess I am completing 1-2 projects a week, and have done so consistently for 5 years - can be anything from a 2-minute "microcourse" to a fully fledged 25-minute corporate piece. They can be standalone, or (as set out in a Discussion Document today...) a 64-module Pan-European, 8-language extravaganza. Actually...it's probably 7 languages as I'm not sure we need to produce English and Irish

I also do consulting

I am just me, myself, I (as Joan Armatrading would sing...), however I work in a loosely formal co-operative (?)

What does that mean Bruce?

I'll explain.

What that means is that I have 3 x consultants I call on regularly to help, and I also have (on standby, used on contract by contract basis) 1 x video producer, a talented illustrator, about 7 x voiceover talents in UK and US, male and female, and a team in India who are on standby for when it all gets a bit much (not used yet - they are standing by though).

Bruce Graham

Nicholas Ostheimer said:

@Bruce

What would the team in India do? 


Everything I do, in the way I do it, to my exact requirements but with a team that is scaleable, and very cost-effective.

It allows me to be the single "front-man" for a client, but with a team behind me as and when I need it.

I have a potential project of 100-400 modules, and I need to be able to scale rapidly - so I prepared well in advance.

If it all happens, I will take a smaller margin per course, but be completing far more courses than I could produce in a week.

eLearning becomes an FMCG production model - high turnover, low(er) margin.

Helen Gordon

I'm currently part of a team of 5, previously I've worked in teams of 2 and 4. I think the discussion has already captured the critical issue with the number of course produced per year, but I think most of us are astounded by 120 courses (but then Phil is a super hero!).

Maybe rather than telling your boss/organisation that you can't do that many courses, talk about priorities and tailoring your solutions based on the impressive demand (they must love what you're producing to want that many courses!).

  • Identify the most urgent/top priority/complex training needs - these are the ones that probably need your normal approach
  • Identify the less important ones, try to find simple solutions to cover the need until you can commit the time to give them the full super product you normally would. I'm thinking of things like performance support or making use or resources already available on the net.
  • Identify the unnecessary ones - those ones where there really isn't a training need and it's just a "nice to have" - put them at the bottom of the to-do list.
Jennifer Mark

I can figure out that there is a mismanagement of time in your case. Would just like to tell you that the usage of an automated tool could be the best option to carry out the projects with ample accessibility. In my case we have been using the cloud based tool from Replicon that takes care of the project management, task management as well as the hours tracking and management.