The following sampling of
written comments are brief
excerpts from correspondence or reports by managers in the Information
Systems organization at Procter & Gamble home offices, Cincinnati.
Many were written by planners who managed and supported computer
systems operations throughout the world. Normal operation involved
writing and maintaining conventional instruction manuals for these
client organizations. This day-to-day production of conventional text
instructions was a good base of comparison for the new method FLIPP.
The comments at #38 are from a tax preparation company. None of the
comments are by people who worked for me. I have received many
more verbal comments from users. Remarkably, all have been favorable.
Written Comments From
FLIPP Planners (Excerpts)
Brackets [ ] enclose words added for clarity.
Ellipses . . . replace unrelated or proprietary references.
1. "FLIPP . . . is an extremely effective and efficient method
for describing complex, interrelated pieces of information. My
experience . . . involved the preparation of user instructions for [a]
large analytical information system. The wide range of capabilities
and options in the system make creation of user instructions a
difficult task. In one instance every ten pages of instructions were
replaced by a single page of instructions using FLIPP . . . . This
collapsing effect made a tremendous improvement in the user interface
2. ". . . Cut down by about 30% the number of calls we were
getting . . . with requests for help."
6. "Having created a chart to be used by inexperienced . . .
users, I'm sold on how quickly the charts can be thrown together and
how they force you to thoroughly understand the procedure being
19. "I am recommending that this type of instruction be used for
new interactive applications."
21. "The FLIPP chart technique promises to be of great value in
locating [bugs which cause a malfunction only in unusual cases]."
22. " . . . we were able to concisely (one page) summarize these
complex procedural paths which were described in many pages throughout
the manual. The simplicity and clarity of the charts can give the
clients confidence and help avoid frustration."
26. ". . . FLIPP filled our needs very well . . . on topics such
as raw materials sampling and evaluation, minor ingredients sampling
and testing, analytical methods, evaluation of finished products, and
troubleshooting . . . .The consensus of our group was that FLIPP can
be a useful and exciting way to learn. I have listed some of the
benefits that we see . . .
. . . forces a logical thought process.
. . . identifies gaps in knowledge.
. . . useful tool for efficiently
communicating a large amount of complex information.
. . . Group participation in developing a FLIPP chart creates a real esprit de corps and feeling of ownership and pride in the
. . . Developing a FLIPP chart is an exciting training experience."
27. " . . . considered to be by far the most effective
presentation of Basic Functions that [we teachers of Basic Functions]
28. "Two charts were prepared on the health information system .
. . . These were completed the same day our group was introduced to FLIPP. I was pleasantly surprised at how building these charts helped
us to identify and boil down complex procedural paths. These multiple
paths are extremely difficult to clearly describe in conventional
form. The client normally requires considerable time to learn error
handling by experience, especially seldom-used procedures. FLIPP
charts can help the client become self-sufficient by simplifying his
use of these procedures. FLIPP charts can give clients confidence.
They can also help the system administrator work with clients over the
phone on specific situations, and in training. . . . We plan to
include the two error handling charts in the health information system
30. ". . . the chart is much better than an 'instruction manual'.
. . My feeling covers 3 main points:
1. . . . it is a most
helpful tool to use in developing an operating procedure. . .
2. . . . as a training aid I feel that the chart method has
many advantages other methods do not have.
3. . . . as a reference manual covering established
procedures the chart method is most effective."
". . . 'FLIPP' requires no programming
knowledge and it employs no special symbols."
32. ". . . it has merit in the simplicity of structure, the
obviousness of alternatives, and the exclusion of the inapplicable
situations. It's main selling points to me seemed to be:
1. Organization of material into visual groups for greater
understanding of the interrelationships, possible alternatives,
and relative importance of the various decisions and/or
2. The exclusion of unnecessary and irrelevant details for an
3. The obvious chain of decisions . . .
4. As a learning technique showing immediate organization of new
"I found the greatest advantage of using
FLIPP charts was that it facilitates the documenting of recovery
procedures which would be very complicated and long if written in
34. "As one whose native language is not the
language that I have to employ in my daily contacts with people, I
find it often extremely hard to make myself clear in what I want to
say. FLIPP charts are just the thing for me."
35. "Comments on Preparing a FLIPP chart to describe the logic
pattern of a computer program:
1. Logic clarified to a degree beyond belief!
2. . . . very easy to find one's way through entire logic
relationships of program.
3. . . . easy to debug program logic."
". . . FLIPP Charting has helped us to 'ask the right
questions' of our clients, so that we can analyze their procedures. In
working interactively with the client using FLIPP Charts, we can help
the client sharpen his understanding of the systems he works with
daily, sometimes spotting inconsistencies. The actual process of
analysis can then produce not only a change in the system for the
better, but a clearer understanding of all systems from everyone's
Using FLIPP Charts as a "map" has cleared the mud from some
very complex systems."
38. "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."
". . . Six instructors used the chart with about 70 students in
basic classes beginning in September of 1989."
". . . The chart was universally appreciated. It is very concise
". . . Preparers used the form with little or no instruction. I
did not receive a single question about what was in the chart or it's
use. [This was most unusual.]"
". . . The chart boosted the confidence of the instructors. It
covers the intended ground completely and visually."
". . . The high receptivity by users made me feel that the test
was a realistic test for our work." §