Discrepancy Analysis in Planning
These guidelines draw upon methods and tools from Creative Problem Solving (Isaksen, Dorval, & Trefflinger 1994) and from Program Evaluation (Worthen and Sanders,
I. Preparation – “Understanding the Problem”
A. Identify a general task (a topic or issue in your work) for which you recognize some important opportunities, challenges, or concerns.
B. In relation to that task area, and working with your colleagues, LISTEN to a number of the possible opportunities, challenges, or concerns that might be
addressed. (WIBAI = Wouldn’t it be awful if… or WIBNI = Wouldn’t it be nice if…)
C. From your list of opportunities, challenges, and concerns, select a PRIMARY AREA of focus for your work (plan).
D. For your primary area, what data describe the situation and help you to understand the challenge that needs your attention. What information, perceptions,
feelings, paradoxes, or hunches are involved? (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? What is the situation really about? (Consider External and Internal scanning data
E. Consider the “current reality” (what is now) and the “desired or preferred future” (what might or should be)
II. Generating Ideas
A. The Bucket Exercise
• Ask your colleagues to put themselves (or put yourself) in the frame of mind any of several “stakeholder types” within your organization (i.e., a student,
parent, community member, board member, support staff, faculty, building level administrator, etc…).
• Ask a number of questions related to the planning topic. Do not limit yourself to one view or frame as you ask these questions. (We will do a sample in class.)
• Develop 25 questions
B. Put the questions (or the questions #’s) into “buckets” or categories by theme.
________________ ________________ ________________
III. Action Plan
A. Consider your lists of questions and themes. Start with the stem, “what I see our team doing is…” and list some actions you will take to implement your most
B. Consider “Assisters and Resisters” and how to deal with them.
Assisters (who/what/when/where?) How to use them…
Resisters (who/what/when/where?) How to prevent or overcome them…
C. Construct your detailed Action Plan.
Who will take what actions? When? How will the action be evaluated? (Consider some 24 hour steps, some short range steps, and some long range steps; include some
“contingency plans, too.) Use the Gantt Chart to help you finalize appropriate timelines.
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