Blog: Business Improvement

A fellow today told me that, as part of his company’s quality program, the people in his department have to fill out a survey at the end of every project. The survey is on the order of 50 questions long. The answers are in multiple-choice format, so there’s a chance that one could garner some data from it, but relatively little information.

I asked him if they had considered modifying the survey to get more a more informative view of what had happened on each project. He said that Yes, they had considered that—but the business improvement department wouldn’t let them.

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3 responses to “Business Improvement”

  1. Anonymous says:

    In a similar vein, some years ago there was a self-congradulatory piece in Crosstalk by a defense software shop that had done a CMM / process thing for a couple years. It looks like they did some real good with that exercise, actually. That’s not the point.

    The article was based on a survey, where among other things they trumpeted their 20% or so response rate. This is outstanding for anonymous surveys. For your own organization, people you’ve been working with intensely for a couple years, it’s pretty lame. For replies from the folks doing the work, to the folks driving work practice improvement, tools & etc. it’s bad.

    Then, I noticed that the organization was about 35 people. Maybe 50 if you cound the process-y and audit folks.

    The most interesting stuff from this survey – information, I think:

    – Fifty people. What’s with a survey? How about you go talk to them?
    – Couple years working together on process improvement, and they don’t seem real interested, do they?
    – Why the survey? Don’t you know? Isn’t it your job to know?

    Every observation will include real information that points directly and immediately to what is going on, if you pay attention. This particular survey pointed out that something wasn’t working, that the folks involved were missing the point, and that any conclusions from the survey itself were highly suspect.

  2. Pradeep Soundararajan says:

    ha , its like asking the new joinee to take up a survey as to why he liked that company … after the long survey … he changes his mind !

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