Measure Project Success: Ask for feedback
Whenever you are running a project with tens or hundreds of stakeholders, it is a good practice to do a quick survey with all the parties involved once the project is completed.
Even though “on the surface” the project seems to have gone without any major problems and the primary project goals may have been achieved etc. – there usually is something that could have gone better or been done better.
The challenge – stakeholders involved are unlikely to start voicing their opinion unless there is a particularly good reason to do that.
Therefore, it makes sense to ask for feedback, not only from the parties that you are most familiar with, but from everyone who played a part.
Content – the best practice is to derive the questions from the project goals, and include questions from the areas that became “topical” during the project.
For example let’s assume the project involved advertising, and it was noticed that many of the stakeholders had differentiating views which marketing channels should be used to obtain the best results.
Question format – multiple-choice questions with the option to elaborate (open-ended questions) where applicable is going to be effective.
It is always recommendable to ask at least one open-ended question at the end along the lines of… “is there something that we could have done better or something that should have been done, but wasn’t?”
Scales – Likert scale is most likely going to be a good fit e.g. 1-5, 1-7, 1-10. A scale from 1-5 is perfectly appropriate when the number of expected responses remains in tens (less than 50). If the expected number of responses is close to hundred or more, then a scale from 1-10 is likely to be more desirable as the subtle differences appear much better e.g. how satisfied were you with…= 7.85.
Report – once the answers have been analysed, a summary report of the major findings could be written and sent to all the stakeholders. This practice is highly recommendable if identical or a similar project will be undertaken again with the same group of stakeholders.
And a word of caution – assuming that the project was a success based only on meeting the project goals is going to be short-sighted, especially if the project involved a great number of stakeholders. Developing a thorough understanding of the stakeholder perspective is going to be the key to improvement and better future collaboration.