Four-Letter Check Points

Each item here uses only four letters.

Perseverance and small incremental steps can move toward a goal.

1. I ASK

Take an active role in the project by constantly questioning in two ways. First, reflect on things you are working on (worthwhile? ... being done fully and completely?) Ask about other projects. Second, try to gain clarifications, understanding of ideas, new tools to use, skills. Pursue your interests. Use books.

Questions are the starting point of knowledge.

Ask questions, make inquiries. Periodically ask yourself "What have I done to seek out information."


All projects require assistance from an outside source at some time. That can be in the form of funding, legal advice, marketing and sales, or technical knowledge.

The most effective people are highly-able to benefit by help from others.

Find ways to benefit from others' knowledge.


While doing a complex job requires a lot of time if one is alone, it can be speeded by the efforts of others.. Cooperation involves subordinating rights, privileges and feelings to an obligation to the common effort. Successful cooperation is measured by accomplishing specific actions.

Focus on finding partners and on learning to be a good partner yourself.

Working out a division of responsibility and methods to monitor work performed by others.


Since you are in the business, you might as well put your fullest effort forward. If you believe you can do it, you may. If you believe you can't, you won't..

Believe that it is worthwhile to make the effort to achieve.

Decide in advance what characterizes your will.

5. IS IT?

Everyone wants to know what they must do. Is it done? Is it long enough? What do you require of us?

It is up to you to set the goals for the effort.

Search out the reactions to your work of customers or fellow students. Learn to sense from whatever is being said about your work by others, whether the work is on track and closing in on a destination.

6. DONE!

The test of whether you have something done, is if you can describe it in writing so that another person can understand, evaluate, continue, complete, or build upon the effort.

Write a weekly progress report, anything from a paragraph to a few pages.

When you have something finished, even if it is a failed search, document it.

7. SHOW.

Make up items to show to others. That activity stimulates refinement, extension of work done.

Compose visuals, figures, tables, charts, or even an outline-style graphic.

There is a big difference between computer output and data transformed into a figure or a chart.

8. TELL.

Selling is an aspect of any effort. Learn to judge when the work done should be exposed to others.

Talking about your work accelerates its completion.

Give a talk: it enables interchanges about the work and leads to gains from others' ideas.

9. IT IS.

Hammer out a common stance to the job. Use partners' individual task accomplishments to support overall goals. The group is responsible for producing something of value.

Get to the finished state by neutral, nonjudgmental solicitation of all partners' opinions, and then seeking agreement among the group members.

Create group agreement that the efforts led to results that fairly represent the original idea.

10. COST.

What is needed to make your design a real product? Completion costs involve time involved and rates of compensation.

List any additional resources that would lead to a more rapid or better quality product.

Consider whether other paths could yield a similar result at less expense.

11. STOP.

The effort taken is a start down a direction.

Present your group effort in the finals session of the course.

Don't. stop: keep on with this or another effort to design a new computer resource.