Pilot Projects and Follow-ups
In the last article I recommended that, if you are making a decision based on research findings, you should ensure that the relationships observed in previous research are true of your group as well. If, for example, you are basing a decision about how to motivate engineers on previous research with physicians and truck drivers, you will want to be able to check that the engineers are responding to your attempts to motivate them in the way the physicians and truck drivers responded elsewhere.
It is for this reason that pilot projects are often effective. Instead of implementing a decision throughout your organization, for example, you could implement it in a few departments first to see if it has the desired effects. If it doesn't, you often will be able to find out why. You can then modify the decision so that it becomes effective.
And of course it is imperative to perform follow-up tests. That simply means that once the decision has been implemented throughout the organization you check to see that it is having the intended results. Again, if it hasn't having the intended results you often can figure out why. You also may discover that the decision has had unintended results which are more interesting or important than the intended ones.
Pilot Projects and Follow-ups © 2001, John FitzGerald
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