Forms analysis is a major element of the state forms management program.  Through forms analysis it can be determined if a form is needed, what a form should do, what and where information should appear on a form, and the kind of form needed for the greatest efficiency and economy.  It assures that the needed forms will be available, and available forms will be properly designed.

Development of a good forms analysis involves cooperation and participation from the managers and directors of a program, computer programmers and operators if the form can be or is part of an automated system, and from the users of the form.  Input from those who complete and process the form is vital.

ITD Records Management will provide forms analysis services, training, and assistance to agencies on request.

Fact Finding

Forms analysis involves fact finding through research.  This helps determine if a form should exist, and if so, the purpose and use of the form.  Since each form is unique, the actual detail of the analysis will vary for each form.

Gather facts through a series of questions

  • Whose form is it?
  • Who originated the form?
  • What is the form used for?
  • Why is the form used?
  • When is the information entered onto the form? How?
  • Where are the forms distributed? Microfilmed? Filed?
  • How does the form satisfy legal requirements?

Challenge the form

  • Is the form necessary? Why?
  • How have conditions changed?
  • What similar forms are in use?
  • What would happen if this form did not exist?
  • How can this form be combined with others?
  • How does this form relate to others in the system?
  • If automated, how can data be input nearer to the source?
  • In what respects does this form best serve its purpose?
  • In what respects does this form fail to serve its purpose?
  • How would you determine a better way?

Challenge each item on the form

  • What definite purpose is served by each item?
  • What would happen if items were eliminated?
  • What does each item cost, compared to its value?
  • Which items have been added just to fill up space?
  • Which items are duplicative or unnecessary?
  • Which information is available elsewhere? Where?
  • What additional data are needed? Why?
  • How do items on the form comply with legal requirements?

Challenge each part, page, or copy of the form

  • What is the purpose of each copy?
  • What action does the recipient take on the copy received?
  • If the recipient takes no action, why is that copy needed?
  • What would happen if some copies did not exist?
  • What unnecessary bulk do copies add to the files?
  • How many photocopies are made of this form?
  • Who should be getting a copy of the form, and doesn't?