Exercise: Data Gathering
Read each of the five scenarios below. Then, decide what the best data gathering approach would be for each scenario based on the principles identified in Chapter 7: interviews, focus groups, surveys, observations, or unobtrusive measures.
If you select interviews, focus groups, or surveys, identify who would participate and how, and write the questions you would ask.
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If you select observations, describe whom you would observe, for what length of time, and in what setting.
If you select unobtrusive measures, describe what data you wish to collect and how you would do so.
- Scenario 1: The client, a manager in the billing department, reports that her team “does not work well with the team from sales.” She tells us that she is always mediating disputes between what the sales team has promised to a customer and the processes that the billing department must follow. She complains that the sales team wants her to bend the rules to serve a customer. For his part, the manager of sales reports that his team is always complaining that the billing department is too rigid when it comes to its practices and that more flexibility is needed to serve customers.
- Scenario 2: The client is the manager of a local retail chain that sells automobile parts and accessories. There are seven stores in the region, and each store has about 25 employees. The client is concerned that sales are consistently declining due in part to new competitors offering better prices. He feels that if employees were more engaged, they might be nicer to customers, be better at promoting sales, and distinguish his store from the competitors by offering a superior customer experience.
- Scenario 3: Recently, a number of employees have begun to file complaints against the managers in the production department. Production has dropped 10 percent in the last several weeks and costly errors have increased by 15 percent. All of these employees are hourly employees who do not receive benefits. No salaried employees have filed complaints. The complaints occur consistently in the third month of each quarter.
- Scenario 4: A government agency that conducts inspections for health and safety is currently experiencing a significant increase in work due to the number of facilities that need regular inspections. There are 1,500 employees in six geographic divisions. Despite a number of process improvement teams, the work still takes too long to complete, according to the client. The client would like to know how to increase productivity without hiring additional staff.
- Scenario 5: Each month, the four regional sales managers in the United States must deliver a report showing their forecasted sales for the coming month to their local finance team. The finance team leaders state that they are consistently receiving these reports late. The reports are also often in the wrong format or contain errors. Last quarter, the chief financial officer had to admit to external financial analysts that he had given inaccurate information about the company’s financial situation due to mistakes in this process.