Were Your Stakeholders Happy? Ask Them in a Survey

Sunday, August 13, 2017, AM | Leave Comment

At the end of a project, many project managers want to collect data that points out how successful the project was.

Some of this information, like schedule and budget information, should not be so hard to gather.

Many project teams also want to gather stakeholder feedback on how the project team performed. You could ask questions regarding how professional the team was, how responsive, how the team communicated, and much more.

You could go around and ask everyone verbally. However, this approach cannot be measured. The best you can end up with is a collection of quotes.

A better way to collect customer satisfaction information is through a simple survey. Surveys are by their nature qualitative; that is, they reflect the opinion of the person being surveyed.

Many surveys ask for a combination of ratings feedback and written feedback.

The numerical answers are used to drive the metrics, while the written feedback provides additional perspective that can be used in the overall analysis.

There are a number of advantages to a well-worded survey.

  • When you are trying to determine how people interact with each other, perhaps the best way to gather feedback is to ask the affected people themselves. Surveys allow you to gather people from any and all stakeholders that were impacted by the project.

  • Surveys are a relatively inexpensive way to gain feedback from many stakeholders. The more stakeholders you want to query, the more it makes sense to use a simple survey.

  • The ratings feedback can be interpreted mathematically for precision and ease-of-use. One great advantage of surveys is that you can gather feedback from a tremendous number of people, and yet synthesize the results using simple math.

  • You can get “shades of gray” from the rating feedback. A survey allows you to receive answers based on a continuum or a range of possible results. In other words, the answers are not “yes” or “no” but allow feedback on a continuum such as a 1 – 5 scale.

Of course, there are also a number of weaknesses with a survey approach. These include generally not receiving feedback from a high percentage of people. It is also my perception that many (most?) surveys are not well written.

For example, surveys may ask how satisfied a stakeholder was with the quality and frequency of communication. The stakeholder may have different opinions as to the “quality” and the “frequency” which makes this difficult to answer with one response.

When you are determining the success of a project you want to use data to compare actual values with targets. This is not hard with schedule and budget. Surveys help you convert opinions and perceptions to data values as well.

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This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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