Lowering the Barrier to Getting Session Feedback

While participants in today’s Lean Startup workshop are on break, I decided to create, what I hope, will be a more effective way to get feedback about the session.

Last week in a session with 40 people, 7 left feedback using the ‘feedback wall’ that was posted beside the door despite numerous reminders.  At the next session with 18 people, 3 left verbal feedback and nothing on the ‘feedback wall’.   1 person from the second session filled out the follow-up survey I sent out.  I noticed during LESS 2012 that a small minority had filled out the feedback stickies on the feedback wall.

My gut says people enjoyed the sessions based on verbal feedback but I still wanted to do some type of experiment because maybe I’m not so good at reminding people about the feedback wall or I’m not really good at explicitly asking for feedback.  I suppose it could be said that I’m not all that good so people are indifferent about giving feedback.  Either way, I wanted to try something new.

My Hypothesis: People are more likely to leave feedback if they don’t have to ‘remember’ to fill it out on their way out of the session on the feedback wall.  Using Net Promotor reduces any barrier to providing feedback because writing a number on a sticky is extremely low effort.

My Experiment:  Use net promotor with an optional comment, put the sticky where they are sitting and ask them to fill it out before the last exercise.

Explicit instructions on the screen
Blue stickies where they sit

Before the wrap-up I asked them to take two minutes and provide feedback.  Comments were optional, I at least wanted to track Net Promotor because I find that to be an effective metric.

The Results:

94% provided feedback (15/16).
93% of the people who provided feedback wrote a comment (14/15).
Net Promotor was 19.96%. (33% if I include the people who answered with an 8 1/2) **
% promotors – 20% (3 of 15)
% Detractors – .06% (1 of 15)

** net promotor calculates the percentage of promotors (those who answer 9 or 10) subtract the percentage of detractors (those who answer 6 or lower).  7 and 8 are thrown out and I didn’t include the two people who rated it “8 1/2” as promotors, I threw those away too.

What I learned:

  • It’s ok to ask for feedback without being irritating.
  • dedicating time for feedback before the end of the session is a good idea because people don’t feel rushed to just write something down.
  • Providing explicit feedback time generates comments even though I was only after the NPS (comments are always good though)

I’ll try this again tomorrow and update this post with the results.

*** Updated, Nov 20 ***

I did this again today.  Here are the results:

100% provided feedback (19/19).
42% of the people who provided feedback wrote a comment (8/19).
Net Promotor was 21%.
% promotors – 31.5% (6 of 19)
% Detractors – 10.5% (2 of 19)

After I got feedback, I showed the participants my experiment because I wanted to show them that you don’t specifically have to apply “lean startup” to everything at work.  Use data to support decisions you make with your product or service.  I make mental notes about what I change from session to session and am using this feedback as way to see if the changes I’m making are working.  Ideally I’d write this stuff down but since I’m an Agile guy, I don’t believe in documentation.