Technology Development: Learning from Project Failures


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This working paper presents several technology project failures and asks the audience to consider what learning might occur when HRD professionals study technology failures and how they might have been prevented. In addition, the authors ask the audience participants to discuss project failures that they are familiar with and how HRD might be able to help in avoiding or alleviating major consequences when technology failure occurs. Then, the emerging concept of Technology Development in Virtual HRD is presented and discussed. This paper was presented at the University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD) 15th Annual International Conference held June 4-6th, 2014, Edinburgh Scotland, Edinburgh Napier Business School, Craiglockhart Campus. Presenters: Rochell McWhorter, PhD, and Elisabeth Bennett, PhD,

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Technology Development: Learning from Project Failures

  1. 1. Rochell R. McWhorter, PhD The University of Texas at Tyler, USA Elisabeth E. Bennett, PhD Northeastern University, USA Technology Development: Learning from Project Failures
  2. 2. 2 Questions: 1. Share an experience with a technology failure – one that did not produce the desired outcome. What happened? 2. What do you think HRD’s role should be in technology projects?
  3. 3. Technology Development is… “the integration of technology with HRD objectives and processes to improve learning capacity and performance” (Bennett & McWhorter, 2014, p. 18)
  4. 4. Figure 1: Integrating Technology Development in HRD Source: Bennett, 2014
  5. 5. Technology Project Failures • Hershey’s ERP Failure, 1999 • Nike ERP systems, 2000 • Hewlett-Packard, 2004 • U.S. Air Force, 2005-2012
  6. 6. Table 1: Skills Benefitting Technology Development Activities Source: McWhorter, 2014 • Multi-tasking in hybrid training and hybrid events (Fazarro & McWhorter; Huggett, 2010) • Envisioning the end-product to aid in designing-in the needed features (Bennett, 2014) • Envisioning “webbing in” (Bennett, 2014) of technologies that can be integrated into the existing technology ecosystem of VHRD • Social Media Skills for Professional Branding (Deckers & Lacy; 2013; McWhorter, 2014) • Gamification Skills for Designing Learning (Kapp, 2012) • Project Management and Project Leadership Skills (Ellinger & Ellinger, 2014; Gallagher, Kaiser, Simon, Beath & Goles, 2010) • Visualizing the use of mediated information within technologically integrative environments for increasing learning capacity and optimizing work processes and organizational system performance (McWhorter, 2011; Monteiro, Almklov, & Hepsø, 2012 • Performing a usability study of technology (Boudreaux, 2012; Instructional Assessment Resources, 2007; National Center for Technology Innovation, 2011). • Use of Change Processes in the Implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (Martin & Huq, 2007) or Electronic Health Records (, 2013, 2014) • Conducting a Task Analysis for Technology Tools (Bennett, 2013) • Database Design/Management (Gallagher, et al., 2010) • Computer Programming (Gallagher, et al., 2010; Hein, 2013) • Instructional Design (Bennett, 2014a, this issue) • System Testing and Operating Systems (Gallagher, et al., 2010) • Voice/Data Communications (Gallagher, et al., 2010)
  7. 7. Thank You!