Tuesday, 13 March 2018

10 Best Practice Tips for Writing Custom Assessments

KnowledgeSmart offers companies a flexible solution for assessing their teams.

Choose from a wide range of 'off the shelf' test titles, for design and engineering software or write your own custom assessments from scratch.

We have put together a handy guide with 10 best practice tips for writing custom assessments.

10 Best Practice Tips for Writing Custom Assessments - KnowledgeSmart

Friday, 9 March 2018


The most critical element of any skills assessment activity is to draw together support from management to drive the process and ensure a successful deployment and adoption.

Experience shows that it is helpful to gain support from the following key business areas:
  • Human Resources and Learning & Development
  • Technology and Building Information Modelling Management (to ensure alignment with company CAD / BIM standards and protocols e.g. BIM Level 2)
  • Senior Management
Without collective management support, your skills assessment activity might turn into a very frustrating, futile exercise.

Clarify the concept of skills assessment

People’s perception of skills assessment may be very different. Make sure that you define your interpretation of skill assessments, keeping in mind the priorities for each business division and ensuring alignment.

Once the definition is clarified it is substantially easier to explain the resulting benefits. Since most people have an adverse reaction when the word ‘test’ is mentioned, it is often a good idea to start with a quick comparison between ‘test’ and ‘assessment’. In most cases, the purpose of most tests is to assign a score. They offer limited diagnostic information to identify areas for improvement. Users often report feeling judged when tested and fear results might be used for other purposes than skills development.

To achieve the ultimate purpose of assessment - to improve learning and development - we need to answer not only questions on how our teams have learned but also questions on how they learned and why specific results occurred. Thus, an assessment is a far-reaching concept, focalising its efforts on learning, and serving the purpose of enhancement and development through a variety of ways.

Demonstrate the benefits

Firstly, your influencing skills will be tried and tested. There is no doubt that you will have to demonstrate how a skills assessment process can help your organisation with quantifiable benefits.

Linking the skills assessment benefits to a current strategic goal will undoubtedly go a long way towards helping to spark and keep management attention.

The most important benefits typically focus on the company’s recruitment process, efficient use of training budgets, productive skills development plans and optimised project resourcing. The challenges that each business division face might differ, but you will often find they are symbiotically interlinked.

In some cases, it is best practice to identify a ‘pilot’ group within the company first and develop a compelling internal case study before rolling out an assessment plan across your whole organisation. Stay aware of the tangible benefits of each business division. It is not productive for managers to continually fight fires. A successful assessment process shines a light on the root causes of some of the challenges faced. A successful skills assessment plan allows for the necessary course correction to be identified and implemented.

Catalyse improved management with improved data-driven decisions

Make sure you understand how your management team is measured and what their current strategic deliverables are. Connect the outcomes of the assessment programme to the overall metrics that management needs for reporting and to the overall strategic priorities and you will have a better chance of getting approval and buy-in. 

At RTKL – a global architecture, engineering, planning and creative services organisation – HR leadership challenged its BIM management team to source a BIM skills analysis tool to help the firm make smarter, more well-informed data-driven decisions about people’s CAD and BIM skills when resourcing project teams. The team reviewed the market and selected KnowledgeSmart based on reasons described by Andrew Victory, an Associate at RTKL, London, UK.


HR now understands ‘why’ people were hired and provides a high-level view of the firm’s talent base, but historically it has not fully appreciated some of the finer details about CAD and BIM skills. The nature of project-centric resourcing determines that individuals are moved from one project team to another as the workflow rises and falls across a project’s lifecycle, and their BIM skill-levels will critically influence their ability to contribute to their new team. With KnowledgeSmart results and analysis in hand, HR now has perhaps the most comprehensive oversight of all staff and their skills.”

Remember the financial benefits

Remember that a big priority for any successful management team is to show a good return on investment or prove financial benefits. Make sure you illustrate how the outcomes of your proposed assessment plan can lead to those management priorities. 

A quick cost-benefit analysis focusing on one of the following factors could be helpful:
  • the cost to employ inappropriate personnel over a 3-month period the cost of losing top performers (due to lack of recognition, support or training)
  • retaining an under-performing user (due to poor performance management)
  • project productivity gains due to identified performance improvements (being able to deliver on projects faster or with fewer resources

KnowledgeSmart is an invaluable tool for professionals that helps businesses capture knowledge on a wide range of software tools, workflows and, standards. More information is available at www.knowledgesmart.net