|What we do..........|
what (do we do)
who (can benefit)
why (are we needed)
how (do we work)
where (do we do our tasks)
when (are we needed)
feedback (from previous clients)
The process developed by Creating Alternatives is defined in the How we work heading. Our purpose here is to saya bit more about just exactly what we do. In other words, what work tasks are performed by Creating Alternatives during a project we undertake.
Project definition -- precontract. The partners at Creating Alternatives are most comfortable with firm, fixed price contracting. We find this type of project most effective in terms of cost and calendar for the customer and the least annoying to us in terms of interuptions during the work process. This type of contacting requires careful project definition for the protection of both parties. Therefore, Creating Alternatives is very active in the precontract phase to ensure that the scope and expectations for the project are clearly defined. Some precontract analysis of the industry is usually undertaken by Creating Alternatives to help ensure our understanding of the scope of the project being undertaken as well as availability of resources to complete the project. Typically, a statement of work is crafted with the client including project scope, the leading questions to be addressed, and milestome events defined and tied to contract billing.
Project Definition -- Phase one. This phase of the project involves participation with the client and the client's experts. Previous work is examined and filed for inclusin in the analysis. Target interviewees are identified and a set of interview questions are formulated. Data base research is begun with the objective of modeling the industry in Question.
Project Research -- Phase two. In this pase, data base research continues and the interview process is conducted. Interview scheduling can be an involved process and is frequently the most time consuming issue in the whole analysis. Interviews are conducted by phone and in person using the open ended questions defined in phase one. The interviewee is encouraged to relate stories illustrating expeiences and anecdotes related to the subject questions. Interviews typically last 15 to 60 minutes.
Project Analysis -- Phase three. This is where the interview data is mined for significant information and compared to the database information in order to refine market models. The interview data is parced into first person "sound bytes" whch can be sorted and compared. Several tools are used to facilitate this process including computer sorts and old fashioned mind maps. Indeed, the computer takes much of the labor out of the process but imparts little in the way of horse sense to the knowledge base. Here, experience and objectivity on the part of the research team is the major tool for extracting ques from the data. The client experts are invited to be involved in the final formulation of conclusions.
Project Report -- Phase four. The report to the client is structured as an annotated slide briefing collecting the relevant background and conclusions. The conclusions are referenced to foundations in the interview data. Generally, this briefing is provided in the clients facility on one or more occassions by one or more members of the research team. Hard copies of the report are provided as well as electronic copies in Adobe Acrobat format. In addition, the client is provide with copies of all relevant market models and a complete set of interview data. (In order to preserve annonimity, the research data is stripped of all reference to the interview source. The interview source information is impounded at Creating Alternatives for a period of three years after conclusion of the project.)
So, that is what we do. We perform these tasks against an agreed to schedule in accordance with the project contract. If desired by the client, we can provide process status reports on a monthly or biweekly basis. Our goal is to ensure client acceptance of the research analysis through involvement and faith in the process.
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