University of Chester

Department of Computer Science & Information Systems

MSc Information Systems


Research Methods 1,
Professional Standards and Issues


Task 2


Think of a work or study-related problem that you have solved lately (or been trying to solve) and write an essay of 550-600 words outlining the followings:

Identify the problem that needs to be solved. Analyse it in just enough detail to create a common understanding

The problem was how to gain access to three documents from DIAL House Chester. These documents were: the Corporate Information Systems Strategy (written in circa 2002 by the current Head of IT), Corporate Strategic Plan and Corporate Mission Statement. They are needed for the preparation of a report for my Information Systems and Strategy Management (IS&SM) studies.

Describe your interpretation of the problem.

The issues for this problem are the expedite procurement of the three documents and how to best acquire these documents.

Describe the objectives of solving the problem.

The primary objectives of solving this problem is to ensure that I have an organisation (DIAL House Chester) that I know and am familiar with to work with in the review and draft of new versions of the three documents for my IS&SM module.

Describe the desired outcome.

To secure: the three documents from DIAL House Chester, by: the 31st October 2012.

What would things look like if the problem disappeared?

If the problem disappeared then I would be able to implement the tasks set in the IS&SM module immediately and without negotiation or palaver.

How would things look if this problem were resolved?

Once I have achieved, successfully, a resolution to this problem I will be able to continue my studies in IS&SM and develop my relationship with DIAL House Chester.

What strategy did you use or proposing to use?

I suppose the best description of the overarching strategy used in the solution to this problem was one of appreciative inquiry. My initial request for these documents, to the Head of IT, proved fruitless. This led to the tactical implementation of a rational approach to problem solving; in that, my secondary approach was one of: divide and conquer with a smattering of difference reduction. I brainstormed potential reasons why my request was not meet and how best to secure the documents. During a period of incubation the solution presented itself: start at the top! My mistake: was approaching the Head of IS for the documents, a delegation tactic.

How did you evaluate or propose to evaluate your progress?

My initial sole evaluation criterion was time. I had set myself an arbitrary deadline and set about ensuring that I meet this target. Following the failure of my first attempt I added a number of evaluation metrics: the probability of success, the saleability of the request proposal, the effort verses reward and root cause analysis.

What obstacles (if any) have you encountered while solving the problem?

The obstacles faced I encountered whilst solving this problem were: initial reluctance, from the Head of IT together worry and concern about relevance and currency from the Chief Operating Office (who as the major stakeholder see tremendous opportunity in providing information to review and update and develop the three documents) together with time management