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Seb Anthony

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New Material Development….


Can you help please?
Recently I switched my direct line mgr, and now I line into the company HR Director (Who has very limited experience of Training, Development or Coaching, background in Finance)
My question is I am having to fight (I am also Coaching and educating my new Manager about Coaching, Training & Development....slowly)about the amount of development time for brand new 1 day workshops, never delivered before, and never run by the trainers (i.e they have no previous experience of running these types of sogt skills workshops) We do not outsource, and have 6 brand new workshops to develop, write and deliver, starting June - September.
My questsion is on average how long does it take you to develop, and write a brand new soft skills workshop please? (Working days)
many thanks for your help
Buffy Sparks

6 Responses

  1. Piece of string…
    Hi Buffy,

    It all depends on how fast people work, what the content is and so on…

    As a rule of thumb we use 2 weeks for 1 day of systems training and 1 week for 1 day of anything else. But I’ve written 3 day programmes in a morning and spent 8 weeks working on a four hour advanced systems workshop. So it’s all swings and roundabouts.

    I would say I could write 6 workshops starting now for delivery in June, if they were based around soft skills or management skills. I would be very pushed for time, if they were Crystal Reports, Oracle, SQL Server, etc.

    But… you aren’t me and your skills are certainly different to mine, and your people’s skills are probably different again. So it might be worth doing some benchmarking on development time by working on a workshop now and seeing how long it takes you.

    Good luck.

  2. Design time
    Design time varies with a number of factors. See these earlier threads:
    While I agree with the broad thrust of what Nik says I am suprised at the illustrative timescales he quotes. My clients wouldn’t pay me 5 days to develop a 1 day soft skills course and I wouldn’t dream of taking that long. But I have worked in this field for years, I have lots of materials to hand that I can quickly tailor and I enjoy working fast.
    There are three main time consumming activities to consider: research, designing (and getting sign off to) the course, and authoring materials. Assuming the needs analysis has been done and only researching the topic is needed, I’d suggest something like a day per course. Designing each course can be done in hours, but allowing for inexperience, maybe another day is needed for design. Writing materials and doing visual aids often takes longer than you think. But for soft skills there is a lot already out there to give you a head start. Maybe this is another day per course. So, in theory, and all being well, 3 days design time should be enough. Allowing 4 is probably more sensible. For 6 workshops, I’d say 24-28 days in total.
    To get a better result more quickly (and maybe more cheaply when you add it all up) you might be best to buy in some experienced help for 4 or 5 days to work with your trainers (developing them as well as the courses). Better still get that person to run the first workshops with your own trainers – I do appreciate that is more cost and you don’t normally buy in, but you get what you pay for. And you have to ask yourself, what is the cost of the workshops going pear-shaped, which is a real risk if your folk are very inexperienced.
    June should be no trouble as a deadline as long as the trainers have enough non-delivery days between now and then.

  3. 2 to 6 hours per hour

    From my personal perspective if its in areas I have already worked, the range is from 2 to 6 hours per hour but typically at the lower end.

    You could speed up the design by buying in parts of the your courses if they have “non technical” sessions.

    Sites like:
    Traineractive (part of
    all have ready to go resources that can be purchased an used. Perhaps their are similar sites for more technical materials.

    Regards, Andi

  4. a few silly thoughts and a simplistic answer
    1. No one puts a personnel officer in charge of finance so why a finance person in charge of HR?

    2. If the HRD has limited experience in comparison to yours why is s/he making the decisions? Leadership is finding the right person and then letting them get on with the job.

    3. How much time does the HRD spend doing the salary review in comparison to presenting that to the board for approval? Consider this as a ratio and compare to prep to delivery time for trainers.

    I generally work on 2:1 (prep to delivery time)but that is variable according to the comments Graham has already made.
    It also depends on whether your clients like to have manuals by the kilo, these take a lot of time to prepare

    (PS if anyone cares I’ve changed email to [email protected])

  5. thank you
    thank you all very much for your very valuable feedback, and Rus yes I agree why have a Finance Director running a HR function….it baffles me too!
    Thank you very much once again,
    kindest regards

  6. The same boat
    Hi Buffy,

    In my previous role i was in very much the same situation (reporting in to the director of business development). It is my experience that none l&d specialists assume that training is all about delivery and are loath to allow the time needed to effectively develop new sessions. I can’t really offer hope that things will improve as they will always have differing priorities. I did, however, reach a consensus after quite a lot of debate.

    With regards to development time, as previous co-respondents have mentioned, it very much depends, but i use three times the delivery time as a general rule of thumb which usually places me close to the mark.

    Good luck.



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