IAF Methods Database Newsletter

Dear colleagues,
Welcome to the IAF-Methods Database Newsletter. We hope you have had a great month!
In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the time of year for back to work and back to school as summer ends and autumn begins. As things begin anew, you may find your participants carrying old assumptions that may not work so well any more. And of course, this may happen anytime, not just in September! So the Method of the Month this time is Assumption Articulation. It was developed by Robert Harris, and is taken from the website http://www.virtualsalt.com/crebook4.htm

Method of the Month
Assumption Articulation

Purpose
To bring to awareness assumptions being made about the situation in a problem solving process and to check their validity. Assumptions that are not valid can be dropped or changed.
Steps
Context
1. Bringing to awareness the assumptions about the problems and the situation in which the problem operates is an often overlooked but important process in the problem solving process.
2. Assumptions are always present and necessary.
-- a. They set limits on the problem and potential solutions.
-- b. They reflect operating values,
-- c. They simplify the problem.
3. Assumptions are self-imposed and not imposed by the situation.
4. Once assumptions are articulated then we can ask each assumption; “Is it necessary?” “Is it appropriate?”

Surfacing Assumptions
5. Write out a clear and as detailed as possible statement of the problem.
6. Write the focus question in the centre of a flipchart paper.
-- a. List all the aspects of the problem.
-- b. List all the constrains caused by the problem.
7. (1) Ask individuals to list 10 assumptions that we are making about the problem.
8. Put up all of the unique assumptions on a white board or flipchart paper.
9. (2) Put up the list on the last page (see below). You can have the group create their own list. Ask if this reminds us of any other assumptions that should be examined. Put these on the flipchart of assumptions.
10. (3) Look at the focused question, its aspects and constraints. List assumptions being made with them.

Examining Assumptions
11. Assign groups to examine the assumptions:
-- a. Write out the assumption as a sentence.
-- b. Ask is this assumption needed to do the project?
-- c. Ask if it is not necessary is it suitable?
-- d. Prepare a report to he larger group.
12. Have groups report their conclusions.
13. Discuss particularly those that are being recommended to be changed.

Last Month's Poll
Last month’s Poll raised the question, What types of group activities do you most frequently facilitate?
The responses were:
Long term (3+ years) strategic planning 21%
Short term (1 month – 1 year) action planning 7%
Team building sessions / away days 14%
Project planning for new projects 21%
Interactive learning events36%
Other7%

If you have a suggestion for a poll please contact us!