Caution: this section of the site describes a more advanced use of the PIE Abacus.

It is best left unless and until you have read/heard 'The PIE Abacus - essential briefing for PIE leads (and others in comparable roles )' : HERE and/or read/heard/watched the PIEs Assessment training (Coming next)

Key features of the PIE Abacus [1] - the 'short form'

The PIE Abacus has been developed as the on-line version of the basic Pizazz assessment process.  (For the comparison, see: The Pizazz on paper or screen : HERE).

At first sight (see below, and/or panel opposite), the PIE Abacus looks very similar to the pen-and paper version of the Pizazz.   There are some changes, made possible by the software, that give the on-line version a huge advantage over the pen and paper version. But we will come to them on subsequent pages.

For many, the quickest introduction to the PIE Abacus is to begin with the simplest screen, which shows what we have called the 'short form' - taking the term from Tai Chi.  This short form should be immediately recognisable to those who have already used the pen-and-paper version, published earlier (HERE).

With one exception, it is more or less exactly the same as the pen-and-paper version, except that it is on screen rather than on paper.   Being 'on screen' nevertheless allows a few differences, which makes using the process easier (See: What are people saying about the PIE Abacus?: HERE) .

  • For example, participants can move the 'bead' to wherever on the thread they feel best represents their view, with some greater sensitivity to nuances (There are five possible positions to each level with the Abacus, compared to the three of the Pizazz on paper .
  • You move through the process from screen to screen, rather than turning pages; and take them in whatever sequence best suits you.
  • We can add hyperlinks to take participants straight to useful background material.
  • Plus, it's all in colour!

Somewhat more helpful, though, the PIE Abacus also has clickable links, to help participants navigate through to the relevant section of the Handbook, and/or to the appropriate pages on the PIElink, where they will find discussion and illustrations of some of the key issues.


Stepping up the gears

As with the pen-and-paper version, the Abacus process allows individuals - frontline staff, managers, volunteers or service users - to input their own initial assessment, which they can then share with others, leading - hopefully - to a discussion within the team or the service. (This collective discussion remains a key stage, central in formulating the action plan for the service for the future.)

But being on screen then also allows us to introduce some quite significant differences to the Pizazz on paper; and it as this progresses, that we get to realise the full significance - and the additional potential that has been built into this Abacus software.

So for more explanation and illustration of the extra features that are built in to the PIE Abacus, which may be helpful even for very small and purely local services, see:

Key features of the PIE Abacus [2]: ‘drilling down’HERE

Key features of the PIE Abacus [3]: adding in 'bespoke' fieldsHERE

Key features of the PIE Abacus [4]: using the ‘stacking' and 'overlay’ featuresHERE

And finally, for the essential spirit of co-operation and community of practice building underlying all this, do see:

PIE Abacus use and terms of use :  HERE

Further background reading/listening/viewing

The simplest, most effective way to evaluate and improve your PIE from Daniel O'Brien on Vimeo.

And you can watch the whole of the iAbacus website's introduction to the PIE Abacus, and invitation to the pilots : HERE


PIElink pages

Getting started with the PIE Abacus : HERE

Key features of the PIE Abacus [1]: the ‘short form’HERE

Key features of the PIE Abacus [2]: ‘drilling down’ : HERE

Key features of the PIE Abacus [3]: adding in 'bespoke' fields is HERE

Key features of the PIE Abacus [4]: using the ‘overlay’ features is HERE

PIE Abacus use and terms of use :  HERE


PLEASE NOTE: a more in-depth on-line training on all these features and more, intended for PIE Leads and others in comparable roles, is currently in preparation.


The Pizazz approach overall

For the overall introduction to the Pizazz, see: Introducing : The Pizazz

For a note on current and future costs of using the Pizazz and the PIE Abacus, see: Pizazz costs


The pen-and-paper version

The basic Pizazz assessment summary sheets are  HERE

The Pizazz Handbook, 'Useful questions',  is HERE

Pizazz assessment levels guidance is HERE

Advice for Pizazz assessment facilitators is HERE

Creative Commons licence terms are HERE