Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reporting Evaluation Results in a Useful Way

I would like to pose the question, not whether all stakeholders are important (because they have their own values in different ways) but whether or not there are ways to sway stakeholder interest with persuasion, facts, and presentation so that managerial stakeholders and stakeholders with money do not abuse evaluation results or ignore the interests of stakeholders who will actually be benefiting from future implementation or changes based on the evaluation results. How have you addressed this in the past or what is your experience with this?
Original question revised:  How can evaluators present results in a presentation or documentation so that key stakeholders like management, project management, and clients do not abuse evaluation results or ignore them. How can they presented to encourage implementation or change? 

Example 1:

An evaluator on an internal team is asked to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of updating a website. The website is currently an internal application built on a legacy mainframe with some code soon expiring. Fortunately it still works and there are work-arounds to buy them even a couple years if need be. The colors are also ugly, it is not responsive (mobile friendly), and there are many web standards/accessibility updates that *could* be made if the client will approve them.
Hypothetical situation A:
The evaluator has a vested-bias interest in wanting to update these systems because that is their job, but they have plenty of other work and this project does not need to be updated. 
The evaluator could simply report the strengths and weaknesses in a factual manner so they can move onto other projects.
In situation A. The evaluator's goal is to encourage the work move forward, the application become the best possible version of itself, evaluate compliance, include accessibility, and do some very forward-thinking and innovative designs that will increase usability/the over all aesthetics/functionality of the application (a nod at form vs. function).

To do this, the designer evaluates the project as usual and creates the typical recommendations evaluation document(s). AND meets with the rest of the team to discuss goals for a client meeting. The meeting may set goals and the merits/risks if they pursue the opportunity then create an action plan or a list of discussion points along with potential feedback/conversations/questions the client may ask to plan ahead for all possible outcomes. 
The client awards the work with a new project plan to include the work that was recommended because it was outside of scope.
Hypothetical situation B:
The evaluator would like to recommend additional opportunities for improvement on the project evaluated but also knows that this work is outside of scope. The evaluator reviews the project for strengths and weaknesses then notes the items based on severity from critical, high, medium, low, to future enhancement and returns her feedback to the stakeholders. The evaluator does not include potential future enhancements that are outside of scope like colors, standards, and usability but believes those are important. 
The evaluator mentions them to other team members who may one day recommend them. This information is not included in the client presentation.
The client awards the work of improving the project based on the evaluation that some items are not critical. So the work is given a longer deadline that doesn't include any additional opportunities. 

Example 1:

An evaluator is asked to review the energy efficiency of a building. The defining criteria is to justify current electricity usage, perhaps updating an old boiler, and to save the company money.
Hypothetical situation A:
The evaluator notes that the building could easily become green LEED certified with a few modifications. The building is using older light bulbs that waste 10xs the energy that newer LED bulbs use, or the building could use new smart bulbs. Obviously the newer bulbs will cost money to replace and install. The LED bulbs initial cost is $10 more per bulb than traditional bulbs. The smart bulbs are $15-30 more than traditional bulbs. The evaluator notes these recommendations in his report, along with his research on cost/installment fees.
He also reviews the rest of the building in a similar manner.

Hypothetical situation B:
The evaluator includes cost in his report recommendations, but also includes a variance cost report that projects how much the company will save in 5 years if they integrate LED bulbs. He also notes watt usage on an average day and takes note that the janitorial staff frequently forget to shut off bulbs costing the company an average of $200/month or $2400 per year. The total cost of replacing all of the light bulbs in the building with smart bulbs is $5000. These smart bulbs can be automated to only turn on when someone is in the room or based on the time of day. They do use a low level of wattage, but could be integrated into a system with motion sensors that run off solar. If the building also integrated solar to run the electricity that would cost $20,000. The motion sensors per room would cost $100 but could double as a security system. The new smart bulbs and solar panels would make the building LEED certified and the company could advertise this. The company could also apply for grants for installment of green energy systems and would receive a $8000 tax rebate from the state. Their insurance would also refund them $1000 for having a security system.
So, if the company installed just the smart bulbs and motion sensors the company could see the benefits of their investment in two years.
If the company also went through the extra steps to become LEED certified, write for grants, and contacts their insurance they could receive $9000 in savings making the cost of solar energy $11000. If their current wasted energy usage is $2400 alone but their total yearly usage is $5000 this would pay itself off in just over two years or the wasted energy would be paid off in  4.5 years. 
Which report is more convincing?
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Senior UI/UX web designer at a large-scale IT contractor for defense, intelligence, and civilian government solutions. Adventurist and certified Yoga / Barre Instructor. Love aviation, books, and travel.Prefer long light hearted series in mystery, comedy, fantasy, and romance.

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