Time – the enemy of QI progress

In the world of improvement, I have lost count of the time I have seen learners spend designing and implementing Questionnaires. Sometimes I am asked to help interpret the paltry and, sometimes, quite meaningless data that is returned. Occasionally, I get sent half worked pieces for feedback – A heart sink moment if ever there was one, regret for the lost learning opportunity, and frustration that I have not written a blog on this sooner….

As with all things scientific, questionnaires can be extremely useful research tools, but the fact is that they require a good deal of time to design, pilot and administer, analyse and understand. Let’s just take administering the questionnaire (getting responses). We all know that passive survey techniques yield poor returns – so let’s see what happens when we conduct a survey face to face.

QIC article - time is the enemy of QI progress

TIME is of course finite and irreplaceable – it’s in short supply in our lives. So in a QI world we reflect this in the way we investigate – and here’s how:

Work out (and write down), what (exactly) you don’t understand or know enough about

PLAN – Think (and write down) as many ideas as you can about how you might find out more. This could include observation, talking to people and, when you have a good question, asking it!

DO – Observe and talk to people, get their views (and write it all down)

STUDY – what you have written down and use it to identify the question/s you need to ask and the people you need to ask them of.

ACT – Depending on what you learn through your study:

Abandon your question, generate a better one and PLAN to try it with another person

Adapt your question and PLAN to try it with another person

Adopt your question and PLAN try it with three more people.

Maximise YOUR learning by recording your next DO, STUY and ACT!

Remember – you are looking for ‘just enough data’ to have confidence that your hunch is right, and to build on it.