Thursday, June 30, 2011

Final Summary of the Workshop 2011

I have mentioned before my ambivalence about satisfaction surveys and their real usefulness, but my reality is that they are almost a personal addiction.  If I don't get to do a survey every couple of months I start to show all sorts of nervous twitches (not really!). But at least I keep things under better control these days with my rules:

  1. 1.    Focus them to a single issue
  2. 2.    Limit the survey to only a few questions , best is to keep it to 5-6 and NEVER more than 10, and make them as uncomplicated as possible .
  3. 3.    Pre-test the questions to reduce (you can never avoid) ambiguity and
  4. 4.    Make sure that it can always be completed in 3 minutes or less.
  5. 5.    Never require an answer. That is a guaranteed invitation to bogus information.
  6. 6.    Decide in advance which slice of your audience you are interested in and then only focus your energy on that group. General send-outs are a total waste of time. 
  7. 7.    Don't ask a question if you don't know what you are going to do with the information. (I forgot to mention that one before).

Note that 7 (above) is not about not asking questions where you might be afraid of the answer.  It is about not gathering information that you don’t know how to use or analyze.

So with those rules in mind, we did an exit survey of the participants of our Quality Weekend Workshop.  We focused our questions in 2 areas, General Organization and Workshop Presentations

The requested response was a check mark on a Likert Scale with 1 as the least positive (poor satisfaction) and 5 as the most positive (high satisfaction).  We also left room for optional comments.

The survey was optionally anonymous and took about a minute to complete, unless the person felt compelled to leave notes and comments.  Quality oriented folks LOVE to leave notes and comments.  It is in our DNA.

So here are the results.  In total we got a response from about 60percent of participants.  We generally encouraged participation but did not solicit from anyone, or discourage anyone.  (See Table).  Satisfaction was pretty high with some concerns about the registration fee, and maybe some issues about the length of presentations.
I suspect that the registration fee may have been a tad high, and we will address that next time, although we did not get to survey people who chose to not attend.  Maybe they would not have attended even if the workshop was free!

With respect to the comments on the workshop, we added all the comments to a single table and then submitted them to Word Cloud analysis, a semi-quantitative techniques where the most common words become most central and largest in the picture. 

We interpret this as a positive cloud and consistent with the tabular data.

So the bottom line was an enjoyed interactive meeting with high positives, and some concerns about fees and a cold room.  And we did not lose any money in putting it on.  So I call that a success.

Planning for 2012 and 2013 is already underway and we the conference PDSA cycle begins again.  


PS: we have taken the conference website down, but the information and the presentations are all available on


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