Measurement is an important and sometimes overlooked component of any project or ongoing professional endeavor. If you are working on a finite project or event, keep records of attendance; poll your audience and track comments, suggestions, stories and ideas that are generated as a result of your work. For ongoing ventures, you might send a quarterly or annual survey to participants, partners or stakeholders to track any transactional data and measure those outcomes over time.
Looking at stories or numbers side-by-side can give you an interesting and often unexpected picture of your work. You can see where you were successful and where there may be weaknesses. You may see bits of information that point to the need for an additional skill set or a collaboration or partnership. Comments may reveal unintended consequences—good or bad—of decisions you made throughout the creative process.
In addition to surveying your audience or clients, get feedback from your collaborators, peers, advisors and funders either formally or informally. This may include scheduling an informal discussion to talk about your performance or work to gain additional insights.
Developing a good survey can become its own art form. There are a number of consultants and research firms who are dedicated to asking the right questions, in the right order and collecting them in the most appropriate manner. Without hiring a consultant, there are a few tips we can share to help you develop an effective survey and analyze the results:
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