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Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Surveys
I like surveys. I like statistics so I suppose that these two concepts are linked. Its not so surprising that I worked for AC Nielsen for all of those years. I also believe that there is no way one can improve without feedback. In athletics feedback is a no-brainer. It may take me five minutes to run around the track four times. I have my data point. If I want to run faster than five minutes then I know what needs to be done. In business its not often so obvious.

Yesterday I needed to collect some performance data from my team. I decided to check out two survey services for this task: SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang. I have used Zoomerang in the past, they have been around forever. Yesterday I had problems with service. Scripts stopped running and the connection timed out. Pretty freaking annoying. The likelihood is that our network was bogged down. But still they sucked. So I was forced to SurveyMonkey as my next best alternative. And the Monkey performed much better!

I wanted to use a ranking question, and I have to say that Zoomerang's implementation was much better than the Monkey. Too bad I could not get their site to work! The Monkey was flawless, and it gave me the data that I needed. As with all things, the many of the users did not fill out the survey correctly (this is where zoomerang was better - it prevented the users from doing stupid stuff.) But since I had access to the data, I was able Rambo all of the data into Excel for analysis.

The purpose of this exercise was to gather some data on team performance. As a manager I have my ideas of who is kicking butt and who is not. Working with a team where more than half the members are remote (based in India), sometimes I need to get some managerial perspective. I had each team member rank the top 12 members of the team. There are 28 members of the team. I then ranked the results in two ways. In the first method I looked at who got the most votes, where each vote had the same weight. This is a measure of popularity. And I also weighed each vote where a "1" vote was worth 12 points and a "12" vote was worth one point. This is a measure of perceived value, contribution or performance.

The results provided some surprising insight. I discovered at least one team member who was flying under my radar (Dave). I had considered his efforts average, while the team ranked him very highly. I'll need to pay closer attention to him!

I also had two sets of developers where the one developer 'won' the popular vote, but the other developer scored higher on contribution. Check out Steve verses Ed, Mark and Mike. And also Bob verse Tim and Paul. In some of these cases it was not as clear to me as it was to the team who was contributing more value to the project. Now I know where to point my managerial energy with these contributors.

Here are the results:


Votes
Score
Tom 22
229
Dick
17
172.5
Harry 20
167.5
Fred 18
131.5
Joe 17
115
Ed 16
105.5
Mark
14
103
Mike 14
89
Steve 16
87
Dave 14
82.5
Jordan 13
69
Tim 11
52
Paul 9
45
Bob 12
40
Jeff
10
39.5
Dilbert 7
36.5
John 5
33
Mario 6
36
Andy 5
29
Pat 3
10
Sam 3
9.5
Craig 1
9
Pete 4
7
Bill 1
5
Leo 1
3
Max 0
0
Vincent 0
0

I'd highly recommend adding these sorts of blind surveys to your managerial tool kit.


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Comments:
Chris-
I'm sorry to hear you ran into troubles using the site. I work at Zoomerang and was wondering if you had some time this week to contact me to tell me what kinds of problems you were running into. I'll leave my email below. If you do email me, just mention this post and also send me your username so I can look up the surveys you did create to get the background information.

Thanks,
Kenneth S.
Zoomerang Customer Service
kenneth dot schwartzman at markettools dot com
 
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All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012