"How's things?" - the coffee break Pizazz

The Pizazz assessment, since it was published in pen-and-paper form in 2017, is proving an effective way to operationalise the PIEs approach. It uses the five stage service review approach that we had 'borrowed' from education; and we have now amalgamated the two, with the PIE Abacus - 'the Pizazz in software'. (See: Why is it called the PIE Abacus?: HERE).

The PIE Abacus is developed using the PIEs 2 framework, which itself has five 'Big Themes' and another fifteen or so more specific areas of more practical focus. As a consequence, it can look a tad complicated at first. It may seem quite daunting for those just at the start of the journey. (But do also see 'the 'one bead' Abacus' : HERE

So to bring it all down to earth and de-mystify it a little, it may be helpful to see how we can also use the same Pizazz process, but in a much more 'light touch' fashion.  Let's see how you can manage a Pizazz assessment quite informally, in just a few minutes; and in ordinary English.


Let's imagine you run into an old friend or former colleague, quite casually, at a cafe or a bus stop; or wherever.  So you ask:

  • "How's things?"

Your friend replies; and maybe it's a bit of a mixed picture. So you go on to ask:

  • "So what's actually happening then?"
  • "What's stopping you?"
  • "And what have you got going for you, that could help?"
  • "So - what are you thinking to do then?"

And then you might even suggest:

  • 'Let's talk again, some time soon, to see how it all went.'

And that's it.

We are always saying that the PIE approach is not a new list of things you must do, but a way of looking at what you do do, that allows you to see it more clearly, and then decide what you want to do.  So here is a PIE'd way of seeing that simple, supportive conversation.

Right there you have all the five stages - the 'initial assessment', the 'evidence', the 'diagnosis' of helping and hindering factors, the 'action plan' - including the peer review. Fifteen minutes should do it.

That's the coffee break Pizazz.

To be sure, it might well help to have in mind the key areas in complex needs services, that we have picked out, in the PIEs 2 framework; given more time, it may help to go into more detail. There may be ideas, examples, suggestions there that might be useful.

But as we've said, in the pages on peer review (HERE) - just do what you can.

Further background reading/listening/viewing

PIElink pages

My cat is a built environment? : HERE

The Pizazz on paper or on screen : HERE

Peer review - the final stages : HERE

The 'one bead' Abacus : HERE


For the full Pizazz on paper set....

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


The PIE Abacus

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


For more on the PIE Abacus, see:

The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE


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