Task Management: Pre-Training Briefing

Pre-training briefing for non-technical skill development for task management should focus on activating core enabling knowledge and then exploring strategies for effective task management relevant to the training scenario at hand. Priming trainees for a variety of potential situations by way of prompting contingency planning is also a useful technique.

Allowing Training Participants to Plan and Brief Themselves

In normal work environments, pre-task planning is a key to effective task management. This should not be any different in the training environment, especially prior to authentic simulation-based or real-world training events. Allowing trainees to properly prepare themselves with their own planning and briefing activities will enable effective task management from the outset. Therefore, once the instructor has facilitated the activation of core enabling knowledge and discussed core task management strategies, s/he should then allow time and space for the trainees to prepare themselves.


The track maintenance team in the railway environment face considerable challenges with respect to task management, as their work often needs to be coordinated around the continual movement of trains along a section of track.

In light of a series of incidents, it was decided that a coaching program for track maintenance teams would be developed to further enhance their task management and coordination skills. Coaches were trained in the essential elements of task management and given tools for the observation of teams on track.

A critical component of this coaching activity was to ensure that track maintenance teams performed the highest-quality briefing prior to commencing work. Additional time was set aside at the commencement of work for the day for the track maintenance coach to brief in detail how the work was to be performed, ensure that roles and responsibilities were clear in everybody’s minds, and perform a detailed risk assessment.

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