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Key skills: making a difference
Key skills: making a difference

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8.7.2 Assess the effectiveness of your strategy

How did you carry out your work? What lines of enquiry did you follow to reach your conclusions? Were there any dead-ends where you felt you could not make further progress, or particular insights that you felt helped you to better understand your work? You should be able to explain why you pursued some approaches but rejected others; what decisions did you make to keep you on track?

In stating your conclusions and interpreting the results of your work, you should refer back to what you first set out to investigate or to demonstrate. Have you achieved your goals? Review your Skills File or other records you have kept of your work to check how successful your methods were in tackling the problems you identified at the outset. You should assess:

  • adequacy: compare the resources you used and time you spent with the estimates you made when you planned the work; check that your methods were appropriate for your task and that other people were satisfied with your work. Were there any good or bad side-effects of your approach?

  • modifications: describe any difficulties you found and how you coped with them. What changes did you have to make to your plans or goals?

  • alternatives: identify other approaches that, with hindsight, you should have tried. What other methods might have been more effective; why did you not try them at the time?

Time out

Comment on how effective your strategy was in tackling your problem. How might your solution have been improved?

Using the records in your Skills File, look back over your problem-solving skills development work and think about how your decisions, and the facilities and constraints of your working environment influenced the way you tackled the task. How effective was your strategy in improving your skills? Identify what was and was not helpful in achieving your goals, and assess how your own strengths and weaknesses contributed to this. Are there any areas in which you feel you need to improve your performance?

Assess your achievements against the criteria you established at the outset to judge quality and success. Comment on those outcomes you feel have not been achieved. In the light of your assessment what changes, if any, would you make to your overall strategy?

Carry out a self-assessment of your skills when you start your next course of study, or new project. You then have a benchmark or reference point against which to assess your skills development in the future.

Time out

Make notes about the success of your strategy. Which aspects of problem-solving do you now feel more confident about?