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Fact- Gathering Techniques

The following techniques are available for gathering facts concerning the underlying
problems:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

Interviews
Questionnaires
Observation
Document gathering
Chartering
1. Organization chart
2. Data flow Diagram
3. System outflow
4. Detail flowchart
5. Decision table

Interviews

A series of interviews with client personnel is considered the best way to zero
in on problems.
In can be conducted at all levels of the organization, from the president down
to the rank and file employees.
The consultant should have temperament to adjust to people who have
differing commitments to the clients goals as well as to many environmental
variables.

Questionnaires

The use of a series of prepared questions somewhat restricts channel of


communication and should be used with great care for the purpose of fact
finding.
This is best used when the persons from whom the consultant wants
information are physically removed and travel is prohibited or when
numerous persons are to be asked and the facts to be so determined are
verifiable from other sources.

Observation

Facts can be gathered by observing the employees of a client perform their


job-related duties.
The technique of observation is useful in gathering facts prior to an interview,
in verifying statements made during an interview, and in ascertaining
relationships between individuals.

Document Gathering

Involves collecting all relevant documents, i.e., source documents, work


sheets, reports, and so forth.

From these documents, one can gain understanding of what is presently done
and how it is organized, what is not available, and perhaps what the client
considers to be important.

Chartering

It provides a pictorial representation of a dimension of the clients


organization or of its activities.
It also facilitates analysis, synthesis communication, and documentation.
a) Organization chart provides facts concerning reporting
relationships, quantities of resources, and levels of authority and
responsibility within clients organization.
b) Data flow diagram this is a logical view of data flows through a
system and it clearly portrays the workings of a complex system, such
as a transaction processing system.
c) System flowchart It depicts an overall view of a system in terms of
major elements such as processing programs or runs, files, inputs, and
outputs. It provides clear documentation of either a present system or
a proposed system.
d) Detail flowchart It graphically represents the logic of a process.
Generally, it describes the logic of a computer program or run.
e) Decision table It particularly facilitates the understanding and
communication of decision processes having complex logic (i.e.,
multiple conditions).

C. Data Analysis and Diagnosis


Four representative approaches to analysis:
a) Decision-Level Analysis Has the purpose of depicting the varied
interrelationships among the decisions made throughout the segments and
levels of organization. It is useful in demonstrating to client management the
variety and kinds of decisions that the organization must take.
b) Input/Output Analysis A problem situation may be analyzed in terms of
its inputs and outputs. It should be noted that while each input and output is
described, nothing is included concerning process (i.e., how the input is
converted to output), the data requirements, the information flows, or the
related decisions.
c) Structured Analysis The key assumption underlying this approach is that
any organization is comprised of a number of well-defined functions, which in
turn are made up of a group of activities. By focusing upon these functions
and supporting activities, you can gain a clear understanding of the inputs,
processing, and outputs of the organization.

d) Less-Structured Analysis
Brainstorming Involves a free flow of ideas among the group
members. Ideas are received without restriction or criticism and later
sifted to find those that are judged to be the best.
Delphi Approach Opinions are obtained from managers concerning
impending present problems or future conditions and a consensus of
the opinions is used to arrive at a decision.

Creative Approach to Analysis


Analysis Strategies
a) Categorization is a process whereby data, facts or items are sorted
into different groups by virtue of their features. This allows the
significance of the information to be identified.
b) Classification is a process whereby items are sorted into different
groups.
c) Numerical Analysis is any technique where numbers are combined
in order to understand how they relate to each other.
d) Association is the recognition that two things are connected in
some way. If two things are associated this suggests that the
consideration of one thing might be easier, or more revealing, if the
other thing is concerned at the same time.
e) Correlation is more precise than association. It is the recognition
that the variation occurs in step with that of another and it may be
identified statistically by the measure of a correlation coefficient.
f) Causation It explains correlation. It suggests that two variables are
correlated because there is a cause and effect link between them. It
provides an important insight for management because, if a causal link
exists, control of the cause will automatically lead to control of the
effect.