What’s Your PoP (Problem of Practice)?


Do you have a PoP?  Do you know your PoP?  Does your staff know your PoP?

Every industry encounters problems at some time or another.  The big focus is how an industry chooses to address or resolve the problem.

As members of the Holdsworth Campus Leadership Program, we were challenged to identify our campus’ PoP – Problem of Practice.

The Problem of Practice is a cause and effect analysis where you try to identify possible causes for a certain problem.  The method allows you to follow a roadmap in which you provide concrete evidence to support your identified Problem of Practice.  Then you determine if the evidence will enable you to communicate the nature and importance of the problem to staff and stakeholders.  We also have to be able to test our assumptions and learn from the feedback.  To do so, we start with the use of a fishbone diagram as noted below.

Using this diagram, participants simply identify the things that are believed to cause or contribute to the identified problem.  During this routine, participants are encouraged to speak freely and list possible concerns such as procedures, people, materials, equipment, etc. that contribute to the identified problem.  Then you try to narrow the focus even more by establishing a specific goal you want to accomplish to help resolve the Problem of Practice.  The diagram below is the format that we used to drive this part of the activity.  You identify the change ideas (or drivers) that must occur to accomplish the goal.  Basically, the process is teaching us to think big, act small and keep your focus small.  Often times as educators we want to fix EVERYTHING in a hurry and we end up not really fixing anything because of the approach we take.

This approach that we are learning through the Holdsworth CLP is proving to be very beneficial, and it’s turning out to be a routine that we are welcoming because the roadmap journey really helps to scaffold the process and provide clarity towards accomplishing your goal.

Our Superintendent, Dr. Jenny McGown, has advised us to NOT be Holdsworth hoarders and to make sure we are sharing what we’re learning in our cohort.  Well, Klein Family, I hope you find this information helpful, and I hope it inspires you to find your PoP – Problem of Practice!  If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to contact me.