Overview: This task to draws out expertise and opinions of management, supervisors, and staff. The intention is to identify possible issues with existing work processes, difficulties in the way the people in the organization interact, or issues related to technology. This task places emphasis on perceptions of participants. Results of this task provide insight that can help during the planning process (see “Plan”).

Considerations: The need here is to define the problem and discover the likely core reasons the problem exists. Because all stakeholder groups might not be identified at the time of this task, the Business Scientist should use a broad cross-section of participants. Enlisting a skilled facilitator is highly advised for this task. Notably, participants are sometimes reluctant to point out problems in their areas of responsibility. Individual interviews prior to a larger facilitated group discussion are often useful in preliminary data gathering. Who can help schedule the key interviews? Who should conduct the interviews? Who should be interviewed? Why are these people important to interview? Who is the best facilitator for the group meetings?

Practices:

  • Gain a general understanding of the type of change proposed.
  • Arrange brief individual (or group) meetings with management and supervisors.
  • Document and listen for themes of related issues.
  • Correlate data (if any) from surveys.
  • Draft a Change Issues Summary paper.
  • Be sensitive to needs for anonymity of participants.
  • Publish the paper and distribute to appropriate management.
  • Adjust the draft document to reflect new findings and discoveries from management feedback.