Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Is Focus Group effective?

Focus groups have always been used to gather feedback on certain requirements or business processes but after being involved in a few of these focus groups, one thought came to mind. Are focus groups effective?

The problem with focus groups is that it's usually held for the people at the operational level and even though they might have certain ideas on how things are to be done, it may not suit what the higher management has in mind. It also depends on who attends the focus groups. Are they vocal? Are they truly concerned on improving the process?

Therefore, whether the focus group meets its objective or not, the facilitator of the focus group must know what the higher management is thinking, and shape the discussion of the focus group in order for it to be fruitful. True, higher management may already have a certain direction they want to undertake, but if the facilitator of the focus group is able to shape the energy of the people at the operational level into thinking what they can further improve on that direction, at the very least the operational level people have a little control on what comes next.

Focus group will not bring about life changing events for the very fact that usually there is already an idea on what is the direction. It's still useful though if the audience will voice out their thoughts. Who knows... The focus group might prevent you from heading to a wrong direction.

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