The Pizazz process - on paper or on screen


The Pizazz : PIEs Assessment and Self-development for Services

'Pizazz' is a show biz term, that means flair, sparkle, dynamism, creativity - and maybe a hint of courage, to stand out, and do something bold.

It is also the way to pronounce the term we are giving to the 'PIEs Self Assessment and Services Self-development' process. That's because the kind of services  we see, and would like to see more of, display all those same characteristics.

(For a note on the naming of this 'backcroym', see What's in a name? : HERE)


So what exactly is the Pizazz? 

The Pizazz is a carefully structured process; but in essence it is simply a tool that anyone can use. Like the PIEs framework itself, it's not so much a new set of things that a service must do, but rather a way to see, and to think through, what works, for you.

The Pizazz builds on ten years of development work in promoting 'psychologically informed environments' - PIEs -  in fields such as homelessness and community mental health. In homelessness, the PIE framework, and the Pizazz, can help take many other existing and valuable approaches, such as trauma informed care, or Housing First, to a whole new level of practical application

But in fact, the fundamental ideas that the PIEs 2 framework uses, and the Pizazz process - the core terminology, the holistic assessment approach and the principle of service-led self development- can be applied in a wide range of areas.

Schools, care homes, sheltered accommodation, the prison service,  in-patient services, and any other environments where specialist and mainstream services alike must cater for these with quite complex psychological and emotional needs may find this a useful tool for self assessment and progress management.


More than just an assessment

In fact, as the title suggests, the Pizazz - whether on paper or on screen - actually provides far more than a single 'point in time' assessment. It also asks useful questions about what helps and hinders a service's development; and what action the service can then take, to build on strengths and tackle problems.

It then becomes a change management tool, and not just a static, one-off assessment. It is about service development; but rooted in SELF assessment, and the lived experience of staff (and users) of what works and what holds them back, coming to their own solutions.

The Pizazz also has a more systemic ambition. It is designed to prompt and facilitate a more informed discussion between service providers and funders; between frontline staff and Head Office; and also for researchers, looking at the nature and/or the effectiveness of particular aspects of the PIEs approach.

But when it comes to these larger and wider discussions, the electronic version of the Pizazz, known as the PIE Abacus, comes into its own. For those working in or with larger agencies of networks - including research - it's worth taking a look at the outline summary of the PIE Abacus : HERE


On paper or on screen?

From the Spring of 2021, the Pizazz now comes in two formats - the original 'pen and paper' format, and the new electronic/on-line format, known as the PIE Abacus. You might think of them as the 'Pizazz on paper', and the 'Pizazz on screen'.

The 'pen and paper' format ('the Pizazz on paper') is most suitable for simpler and smaller services, where getting round a table to meet and discuss face-to-face is an option.

The electronic/on-line format ( 'the PIE Abacus') is geared for more complex and/or larger services, organisations and networks, where face-to-face meeting is impractical. (See: The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz :  HERE)

NB: the 'Pizazz on paper' is already available to anyone to download. It's completely free to use; and will remain so. (You will find all the paperwork:  HERE)     For the 'PIE Abacus', as software, you need to obtain a licence; but there is the option of an extended free trial.

For a note on current and future costs of using the Pizazz, and for using the income to support new developments, see: Pizazz costs





Further background reading/listening/viewing


PIElink pages for background

  • PIEs assessment - what is the point? : HERE
  • Why is it called 'Pizazz'? : HERE
  • Ambition and modesty : HERE



The Pizazz on paper

  • The paperwork (for the Pizazz on paper) : HERE
  • 'Useful questions' (the Pizazz Handbook) : HERE


  • The Pizazz - what is it NOT? : HERE
  • How come it's free? : HERE
  • The coffee break Pizazz : HERE


The PIE Abacus

The PIE Abacus - a new step on the journey : HERE

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

  • Customising the  PIE Abacus : HERE
  • A One Bead Abacus : HERE


For more on the PIE Abacus, see:

  • The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE
  • The PIE Abacus - essential briefing for PIE leads (and any others in comparable roles) : HERE
  • Weighing the costs and 'value added' of the PIE Abacus : HERE