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Twelve Questions to Define a Project

Starting a custom consulting project is easy. We need to ask some questions to define the project. Our questionnaire is below. Some clients discuss the project and we fill in the questionnaire during an interview. Other clients fill in the questionnaire themselves.

1. What is the problem to solve? Have you written a brief description of the problem?
     •  What are the most important questions to answer?
     •  How big is the market that the idea affects?
     •  Why is it critical to you?
     •  What is the issue?

2. What kind of problem is this?
     •  A company acquisition problem. We want you to check out the following firm(s): _______
     •  This is a patentability issue. We need a patentability search.
     •  This is a patent validity issue. We need a patent validity evaluation.
     •  This is technology development question. What’s the question? __________________
     •  This is a project development issue.
     •  This is a market issue.
     •  These options don’t work. My problem is really _______________________.

3. Are there examples of related patents that describe the problem?

4. Is there a review available that will help educate us and get us ready to work with you?

5. What websites do you know about that are relevant?

6. Are there products that touch or directly impact the question?

7. Who do you know of that is already in the game?   Companies? People?
     •  Who are the current competitors? Who is #1 in the area?
     •  Are there a few small companies that you know about?

8. Are there other ways to describe the problem?

9. Has there been any patent or other litigation in the area that you know about?

10. What are the keywords you would use to describe the problem?

11. Can you draw a picture or a diagram of the problem?

12. Can you create an outline of the problem? Try using the outline below to describe your problem.
            Top Level Issue (business or technology)
            Key Issue 1
                   Problem 1
                   Problem 2
            Key Issue 2
                   Problem 3
            Key Issue 3
                   Problem 4
            etc.

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