Monday, August 08, 2005

360 Degree Audit: Framing the Questions

If you use a 360 degree audit to evaluate a product manager's performance, you survey the development, marcom, and sales teams to determine how effectively and convincingly the product manager has communicated an understanding of the market to them. What questions should you include in such a survey?

Whether you are a CEO, CMO, or VP of marketing conducting the evaluation, you should not ask the following question in a survey of these teams:
  • "How well do you think the product manager is doing her job?"
As we've noted in the context of conducting surveys of customers, the questions you want answered often aren't the questions you should include in a survey.

Here's a stab at some questions that might yield more reliable feedback. In parentheses after each question, I've specified for which department the question is appropriate.
  • "How well do you understand the problems that prospective customers of the product face?" (all departments)
  • "How well do you understand the different kinds of buyers of the product?" (sales, marcom)
  • "How well do you understand the product requirements, i.e. the criteria the product must satisfy to overcome the key problems the product is supposed to solve?" (development)
  • "How well do you understand the key themes and messages to use in PR and advertising for the product?" (marcom)

I'm sure you can improve the wording of these questions. I'm also sure that several more questions would yield informative results. The point is that these kinds of questions keep the "tactical expectations" problem from poisoning the performance evaluation.

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