David J. Cox  Explanation by Pattern  CASE STUDY  2 of 3




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CASE STUDY:  TAX PREPARATION REPORT

See accompanying Explainer and Empty Explainer

From: [Tax Preparer/Training Supervisor] 7/26/90

TO : [Manager] [Company]

Subject: Demonstration test of charting retirement distribution

BACKGROUND

At your suggestion, I worked with Dave Cox and some of our people to try out an unusual way of charting complex information. You suggested that how to determine eligibility for averaging and lump sum handling of retirement distributions would be a real test of the method and its usefulness to us.

This report summarizes what we did and the results.

THE TEST

The process we used was to give Mr. Cox information about 4972, and he would incorporate it into the chart. It required a lot of discussion and revision to get the picture we wanted.

The charting method uses about 10% of the number of words in instructions in training manuals, according to Mr. Cox, and are far easier for people to learn from and to use.

I verified the chart with some of our people as it developed. Valuable changes were made.

Six instructors used the chart with about 70 students in basic classes beginning in September of 1989.

THE RESULTS

1. The chart was universally appreciated. It is very concise and practical. A copy is attached.

2. It saved time for customers. Preparers used the form with little or no instruction. I did not receive a single question about what was in the chart or its use. [This was most unusual].

3. The chart boosted confidence of instructors. It covers the intended ground completely and visually.

4. The high receptivity by users made me feel that the test was a realistic test for our work.

RECOMMENDATION

I recommend this charting method be used by [Company] for tax preparation instructions that are complex -- where there are variations on customer situations, where a variety of different rules must be applied, and where many [Company] preparers and customers invest their time.

[s] [Tax Preparer/Training Supervisor]

cc David Cox

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