Question Technique in operations

Question Technique (QT) means by which the critical examination is conducted, each activity being subjected in turn, to a systematic and progressive series of questions.

Primary Questions:
The first stage of the questioning technique which queries the fundamental need for the performance, place, sequence, person, and means of every recorded, and seeks a reason for each reply.

Secondary Questions:
The second stage of the questioning technique whereby the answers to the primary questions are subjected to further query to determine whether possible alternatives of place, sequence, persons and/or means are practicable as a means of, improvement over the existing methods.

There are five sets of question about the purpose, the place, the sequence, the person and the means.

Notice the points brought out by this definition:

1. Each activity, in its turn, is subjected to these questions, but remember the advantage gained by dealing with key activities first.
2. When dealing with a particular activity, all primary question are satisfied first, before the secondary question are applied.
3. The primary questions aim at reaching conclusions on five cardinal points; i.e. Purpose, Place, sequence, Person, Means. Once these conclusions have been reached they can be related and borne in mind when working on the secondary questions.
4. The objective of the secondary questions is to discover all the possible alternatives for each of the five principal points and then finally, to reach a decision as to which alternative should be adopted for optimum results.

The order of the sets of questions is purposely designed so that we do not waste time. The question ‘what should be done’ moves us from an existing method to an improved one. This is a creative procedure and no text can give some definite rules which if followed will lead to improvements. One sure-shot way to improve methods is, however, the elimination of unnecessary work. It is also possible to simplify, change or combine them.

Summary of conclusions

Primary Stage: The conclusions reached for each group of question should be collated and written down at the end of the primary examination so that their relationship and effect on each other can be taken into account at the secondary stage. This narrows down the range of alternatives that will present themselves for consideration.

Secondary Stage: Most of what follows now depends on the thoroughness of the initial examination. Achievements and advantages that must be retained should be inherent in the various alternatives listed under the headings, Purpose, Place, etc. The unnecessary achievements and the disadvantages should be excluded wherever possible. The usual procedure is to refer to the primary work that has been done under a particular heading, together with the overall conclusions, and then to list the alternative suggested by this information. Each alternative will have its advantages and disadvantages which will have to be evaluated against the intention of the investigation.

All this material should then lead us to the next stage in the investigation, i.e. the ‘development of the new method’.