Design & development ratios?

Subject: Design & development ratios?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 11:45:00 -0400

Tanya R. Owens is <<... building a staffing model, and I need to obtain data
on the amount of time it takes to project manage, plan, design, and develop
the following deliverables: Instrutor Led Training (1hr) [etc.] ... I heard
that the industry standard for CBT is 250:1, but recently a collegue told me
it was more like 500:1 or 1,000:1.>>

It's next to impossible to define development times without knowing (i)
exactly what it is that you're producing and (ii) whether you have the
skills and computer stuff (hardware and software) required to do the job
efficiently. Think of it this way: if you're writing basic instruction
(primarily text with a few screenshots) for something you already know very
well, it could take only a few hours to produce an hour of training
material; think "Powerpoint presentation" and you'll see what I mean.
Conversely, if you're producing a complex Authorware presentation with tons
of custom programming, video, animation, and sound it can easily take
thousands of hours to produce a single hour of instructional material; think
"Hollywood movie" (6 months to a year of work from a few hundred people to
produce 2 hours of screen time) and you'll see what I mean. Worse yet, both
extremes will vary depending on your access to SMEs and other expert
providers of raw data.

So if you want some useful productivity metrics for use in budgeting
resources and estimating production times, you'll need to talk to whoever is
actually going to be doing the work and get their best estimates at how long
it takes to produce a variety of materials. Ask about time requirements for
writing text, creating static graphics, creating animations, producing
sound, producing video, creating the code for online tests and grading, and
any other aspects that you plan to include. If you have more than one person
who can do the job, use the worst productivity estimate, since things never
go as well as you'd hope. Once you've got these estimates, apply a fudge
factor based on how easy or hard it will be to obtain the necessary raw
data. Voila!

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
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