Future Proofing of IPM Professional Education

Jayadeva de Silva.
It is an established fact that becoming a leading organization is easier than continuing to be the leader .Great organizations are those which are able to stand the test of time organizations that are able to transform themselves to changing internal and external forces. These organizations ensure that today's glory is not at the expense of tomorrow's struggles. Let us agree that at the out set Key activity of the IPM (SriLanka) is Continuing Professional Education. I have been associated with IPM for over 3 decades and as a former Council member, Vice President and a Fellow of the Institute wish to submit this paper for consideration by all those who are concerned about the future of IPM. I have heard at several meetings of the Business school committee meetings that we should have a quality assurance for our programmes. Yet there appears to be no interest in the matter, perhaps due to the illusion that many are enrolling for IPM courses regardless of quality. As a professional Institute, out side agencies will not interfere if there is no major catastrophe. I have a feeling that we are heading towards a crisis and this is initiated to prevent such a thing happening. I sincerely hope these ideas would be of use for the current administration of IPM Let me start with an example that all of us can agree with. There are 3 ways to make better product i.e. Better parts (“raw materials”) Better product design and manufacturing process, one uses feedback for quality assurance (QA) and for ideas on how to continuously improve. Same is true of professional education For Better educated students coming into the system we must improve what we teach, how we teach it, and who teaches it .We should ask students 0-15 years later for feedback and actually use it to change the previous 2 steps We need to improve the quality of the incoming students by living the vision that all students in here receive the best professional education... How do we do that? Simply we must establish clear, measurable goals, Change some of the things we do, copy what works and stop doing stuff that doesn’t work thereafter measure and adjust. This isn’t rocket science. It’s just that we don’t do it very well. There are several changes required We need to understand why we have failed in the past and avoid those mistakes. We must understand why other organizations here and abroad have succeeded and adopt “best practices” of such top performing institutes. Copying first to get to parity, innovating later should be our strategy. For this, one must have the leadership and courage to do things dramatically differently than we are today, create a vision, clear goals, and a believable strategy based on what has proven to work Why isn’t there a checklist for professional education & training that we actually use? In aviation, a pilot uses an extensive proven checklist to ensure a safe flight. Why not offer a substantial on-going incentives to enable to all those concerned to pass a proven 1

materials. i. curriculum. Require pilots to go through a proven safety checklist (that ensures a successful flight) before takeoff How are things with us today? There are over 50 teachers & that many standards for what students are to learn. Airlines governed by International safety standards (not set by airlines!) B.. There is a grave need for changing what we teach and give people what they need to be successful For an example course units should be as follows • x+ y + z units to graduate x units core subjects y units elective z units General Institute requirements 2 . Scalability-Prove that it can be rolled out in scale and still work) Right way: for us is to • Research best practices. Pilots free to determine how to fly the plane. On-going pilot training is required D.spend time studying best practices in other places • Prototype-Create a prototype approach based on the learnings but adapted for our market • Test and validate-Test it at few courses. All pilots are qualified and certified to fly the plane type (no unqualified substitutes allowed!) C. but not the destination G. Pilots who don’t perform can be fired E.. Efficacy-Require proof of efficacy. Alignment (standards. Get a third party to validate results by comparing to other schools of similar profile. it has to work. Then changing how we teach is a must .Why the failure rates are so high? We need to use Metric ideas such as • Customer satisfaction • Peer/supervisor rated satisfaction • % employed after 1-2 years • % who were fired in first 2 years • Average salary improvement after 2 years • % who got jobs after graduation Why not treat our professional education policy like drugs? Just see how the analogy works.e. Planes that don’t meet code can’t be used F. There is no good reason we can’t have standards.checklist of statistically proven replicable requirements that ensures a quality education & training? Why don’t we run our affairs like airlines? A.. Safety-Require testing on a diverse population to look for unintended consequences (negative side effects). That is step number one. and assessments) is therefore virtually impossible we are set up to fail.

marketers. Are we imparting soft skills? Such as. write progress reports. Leadership. and teaching. Behavioral change. Customer driven design: Adjust the design of the product to fit what people want to buy (a successful career).e. Organization skills. require people who teach to have “real world” experience in industry. present technical material in oral and written forms to different audiences at different levels of detail. Sales skills. what skills they could use to be more effective. engineers. Conflict resolution. Teamwork. critically evaluate technical presentations. give and receive constructive feedback. Coaching/mentorship. researchers. Nobody failed due to a lack of understanding of the basic subject matter in their core area of expertise.Upon completion of this part of the course. what skills led to failure Why isn’t there a feedback system in place at IPM? What are our goals? Do we have metrics aligned to those goals? Do we know what they are? Is it used as a basis for compensation? Is it used as a basis for adjusting the process and the design? Summary For me Improving professional education is a lot like building a better computer or such product Quality components: Demand the highest quality components from suppliers.Does one pie really fit all? Executives. Company politics. We need to encourage research not just individual research! Measure and adjust Creating a feedback system for quality assurance and continuous improvement area must What has been our experience? Many failed in job situations on the soft skills. Quality volume manufacturing: Improve the manufacturing process by copying best practices and making sure we have clear manufacturing specs (goals) and that the products meet the spec (testing) at high volume (scalability). teamwork. running a meeting. . Feedback: Take a look at the product after it’s been in use for a few years to ensure quality and provide ideas for improvement 3 . Giving feedback. help them improve. If there is one change you can make right now to improve our professional education & training this is it i. Receiving feedback. Many failed due to an inability to translate their knowledge into action So our feedback should measure: what skills are the most used. architect technical presentations. Interviewing skills. Attire. Question we need to pose ourselves is -Are we achieving these objectives? How many students are completing the project report? Changing who is doing the teaching It would be necessary to require a 6 week training course for new faculty. teaching skills. It is vital that we change incentives to reward collaboration. . Social skills. Decision making. Negotiation skills. entrepreneurs. students would have learned how to: propose and define research problems and think about solutions. Basic project management skills. Managers. what skills were required for success. Nonverbal communication. Presentation skills. Soft skills Now let us look at the Project Report.

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