“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth measuring.” -Unknown
Many capstone projects revolve around changes to systems, processes, or strategies. In our previous chapter we discussed the importance of having a well-organized implementation plan as a component of success. But once you have implemented your project work, how will you know how successful it is or, dare it be said, is not? By establishing an evaluation plan that measures the new status in comparison with the previous status. Let’s assume, for example, that your project concept involved objectives that included increased employee retention. In this scenario, it would be important to know what your retention rate is at the time of implementation. Also, let’s assume that your project research and content contained historic retention data over the past several years. That data might be presented in a table similar to the following:
|No. of Employees Jan. 1, 2017||216|
|No. of Employees Dec. 31, 2017||199|
|2017 Retention Rate||92.1%|
|No. of Employees Jan. 1, 2018||199|
|No. of Employees Dec. 31, 2018||172|
|2018 Retention Rate||86.4%|
|Retention Rate Change||-5.7%|
|No. of Employees Jan. 1, 2019||172|
|No. of Employees Dec. 31, 2019||189|
|2019 Retention Rate||110%|
|Retention Rate Change||+23.6%|
If, in this case, you had implemented your project work focused on increasing employee retention in 2018, your evaluation methods would show an increase in retention by 23.6% over the previous year, which would have been a significant success.
Other project objectives in this example may have included requiring a consistent employee orientation plan, developing a formal employee performance review process, and establishing professional development opportunities. Your evaluation plan, in that case, could involve metrics around those significant areas of impact as well.
Often times, in order to measure intangibles – for example, employee satisfaction – we’ll incorporate a survey. Surveys are an excellent way to get anonymous (or named) feedback in order to measure the success of a newly implemented program. Note: If you choose to develop a survey to be used for future evaluation, you will want to include that survey in the appendix section of your capstone project.
In his Ted Talk, John Doerr talks about the importance of measuring what really matters in relationship to our goals and objectives:
In conclusion, when you look back at the key objectives of your capstone work, how will you evaluate or measure your results as they pertain to your goals? This approach will be detailed in your evaluation plan.