Sometimes people view ADDIE (analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate) as both an instructional/LX design process and a project management approach.

Figure 1. ADDIE with Up Front Planning to Start (PADDIE)

We propose that ADDIE contains components that are still necessary for comprehensive instructional/LX design even in a Lean-Agile environment.

Viewing Lean-Agile as a project management approach or an operations management approach may help better communicate how we see the two sets of ideas merging. This is why we have made a mashup of both Lean-Agile and ADDIE. ADDIE has proven components for thorough instructional/LX design. Some people argue strongly when ADDIE is discussed as the entire approach for managing the project.

Figure 2. Where Lean-Agile Fits in ADDIE

The steps of the development process on our Kanban boards include ADDIE steps that apply on the particular project. For example, sometimes Analysis projects are performed as completely separate projects for many of our customers, so we won’t include analysis steps on our design and develop project Kanban boards. Conducting or facilitating courses is not wanted by some of our customers, so we leave off the implementation phase of ADDIE on our Kanban boards because that customer will have their own instructors conduct the sessions rather than our staff.

Operations management is a way of getting outputs from a system of people and processes. Project Management has a similar focus.

Targeting our audience is important in courseware and also in organizational messaging. Internal senior organizational leadership often have a background in engineering, operations, or a sub-specialty of HR rather than training. Communicating with them requires considering that they may not be as conversational on what ADDIE means as are training professionals using it in daily work. Messaging to leadership may be better received in the language of operations management and project management, rather than the language of specialists in learning experience development, depending on your circumstances. Even hardware and software engineers often need to translate their technical lexicon into management-speak to effectively communicate with that audience.

So rather than attempting to trigger dogmatic arguments about Lean-Agile versus ADDIE, we propose that the family get the new Lean-Agile sports utility vehicle in addition to the reliable ADDIE car. Having both in the driveway helps the family do more. It does not necessarily have to be a one-or-the-other discussion.

Additionally Lean-Agile is not the single unifying theory for instructional/LX design excellence, but rather a set of principles that inform your development of specifically tailored practices that your organization can use to be more productive, which improves profit margins and potentially velocity—​in this context meaning how many times you can earn your margin. When you can translate technician speak to financial impact you can more easily get your C-level (Chief Learning Officer [CLO], Chief Executive Officer [CEO]) leadership’s attention.

So rather than stir up passionate debates about whether ADDIE or Lean-Agile should be used, let us presume both apply and move on to how to execute training development projects with both.


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