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Impartial Quality Review

by Mira Vlach on September 10, 2008:

Summary: Unbiased review is one of the easiest and fastest ways of revealing insufficiency and giving opportunities to improve in your activities.

The person who wants to improve should, as much as possible, seek and encourage impartial feedback. Searching for opportunities to improve and reveal insufficiencies is related to all of the main topics of this web, that is, project management, IT and marketing. As well as almost any other activities. At the beginning, when you start doing something, on your own or with the help of someone, you find your way of doing it. Then you gradually alter it – according to your experience and to enhance your clients' satisfaction.

However, it would be naive to assume that the present system is always ideal and fully meeting your requirements. Therefore, it is right to verify and occasionally critically evaluate it. By the system is meant e.g. your equipment, as well as your entire inner work procedures, which influence your effectiveness, quality of your services or production etc.

The main reasons to impartially review your practice are as follows:

To make it clear what kind of improvement we can talk about and how exactly an impartial feedback can look like, let's have a look at two different examples. Both of also show different ways how the feedback can be accepted and how it effects the assessor's feelings.

Example of impartial quality review: Priessnitz spa

This summer I went on a very pleasant active holiday in Priessnitz Spa in the city of Jeseník. Being it a fascinating place where you can excellently regenerate and fill up your batteries in the enchanting nature, I do not mind praising them here. In spite of this, I noticed a few things, which could be done better and thus make my and my girlfriend's experiences even more pleasant. I do not say, these are necessarily big insufficiencies, but sometimes they might affect many guests, so it is worth the consideration:

Hotel Priessnitz in the Czech republic would be even nicer if it listened to hosts' comments
The Priessnitz hotel could be an even more pleasant place, if they listened to their guests' needs

I would like to emphasise that despite the small rebukes we enjoyed our stay very much due to the fact that the personnel were willing and kind, though they were busy. Having written them for the article anyway, I sent these remarks to the hotel quality manager, whose contact I found at their website. I believed I would do the spa a service in that way. Even after a fortnight, there was no reply to my e-mail, so my impressions are rather perplexed. And though I would like to visit this place again, I will know better than to take the trouble to share my opinion with them again.

Update: After publishing this article I have received an answer from the person responsible after all. She apologized for the time it took to respond and explained what precautions had been implemented upon my remarks.

Example of impartial quality review: my presentation of project management.

The second example is when I personally received very inspiring feedback to my project management presentation. As an occasional guest I take part in Trainings for successful freelancers, where I speak about project management for freelance professionals. I try to get feedback every time. After my second presentation one of the participants shared his impressions from my topic. Among other things he mentioned:

Even though he was de facto pointing out my insufficiency, I was glad he had decided to share this with me. He also mentioned that he had been thinking for a long time, whether there was a point in writing this – though he had been asked to do so. I did my best to show him in my reply that I appreciated his ideas and that was exactly what I wanted from them. For him to see that I meant it sincerely, and because he took the effort to write concisely to me, I have given him a significant discount for my other presentation where this topic will be presented in more details. I must say, thanks to him I have significantly changed the content of my contribution and he helped me improve my own project management training.

Review by a Customer or a Professional?

There are two most common basic ways of getting a feedback of good quality – directly from the customer or by paying a professional. Each of these has its own place and is suitable for various things.

The customers or users can share their ideas continually or when they are purposefully asked and motivated to give feedback as a part of a short-term survey. The assessment has these attributes:

professional, on the contrary, is a person with great experience and insight in the fields you want to inspect. Thanks to that, he can judge not only your products or services but also assess your work techniques. To work with a professional has these attributes:

Professional may be costly and the co-operation may not be necessarily economic

The way of co-operation can be done by means of consultation, audit etc.

Further possibilities for achieving impartial overview of a company can be e.g. comparisons with competitors or comparisons with books or other publications, which describe the best practice. It could be for example about a ISO standards, ITIL books for IT services management etc.

How to get the most out of the impartial review

The following principles describe how to get as good a feedback as possible and use it in practice:

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