I have a new tool!
I have not yet fully understood how to use it. But that does not stop me from trying. It is like a carpenter when he gets a new tool. He will start to experiement with it and see what happens.
My new tool is called VPEC-T. If you google VPEC-T you will find some very good links where you can start to learn. Here is one starting point http://www.lithandbook.com/?p=36 and another is http://www.informationtamers.com/VPECT/VPECT-and-business-information-systems.html
The letters stands for: Value - Policies - Event - Content - and - Trust. (For a very brief description - see http://www.informationtamers.com/VPECT/So-VPECT.html )
Anyway. The way I have started to use it is as a "checklist" or "discussion theme" when meeting people that claim they know what to be done. To understand what they are up to and to verify that it makes sense I can walk through these letters. Put forward questions and see how the different areas are covered.
Nigel Green (one of the creators of VPEC-T framework) suggested to create five columns on a paper and start to ask questions. And you can in each column list and describe different perspectives.
In the "value" column you can list "our" perspective as well as "client" perspective on values. Or even "partner" perspective. Walking through the five letters, asking questions, you can get another view of the "solution" suggested. And you will be able to see the solution from new perspectives - and also see whether things are covered from all perspectives.
Listing the answers you get for the five areas you can learn a lot more about what the solution were aiming at. And you can also see where you have not covered it fully.
Are you sure about what policies the client have that has to be followed? Or will be used?
The VPEC-T can very fast get me asking good questions and see how complete the solution is. Just walk through the letters - ask a few questions. Use both "our" perspective and the "client" perspective to see if both are covered. (Not saying they always have to be.)
The letters also lets you stay away from the actual "solution" and instead see the influence in the business. And what environment the solution will work in.
What kind of questions are we talking about? Well, questions and themes like the ones listed in this mindmap (http://www.informationtamers.com/VPECT/VPECT-mindmap.html )
So, I have started to use VPEC-T as a mini-checklist when listening on people having a "solution" they want to put forward. And since the five letters also gives a structured approach it is very easy to walk through with other people.
The real benefits then?
1. A structured approach. Five letters - five areas for questions and discussion.
2. Covering important aspects of the "environment" where solution should operate. Including the value that should be the result
3. Can be used as complement to all other method you already use.