Many of my engagements involve interviews of staff, customers and suppliers. These take a long time to compile and analyze. Are there any shortcuts that other consultants use?
Interviews are a logical part of organizational diagnostics, but reduction in the level of effort in just the beginning of possible improvements. Treat this activity like any formal research project, to include a research plan with explicit objectives, clear data collection, compilation and documentation processes and a formal evaluation.
Of the many ways to improve the process to streamline the interview process, here are two tips. First, standardize the interview process with a script instead of just "having a conversation" with the interviewees. Select specific questions and areas of investigation you want and review the draft script with your sponsor. This will make the time you spend in the interviews more efficient by staying on topic.
Second, use a data collection form tied to the script to make compilation and evaluation more efficient. For example, you might include a grid for interviewee estimates of future sales or resource requirements. This will help assure that your interview does not end with important data missing and will speed up compiling of responses.Tip:
Interviews are more than just conversations. Make the process efficient with a deliberate research and data collection plan and save yourself the time you seek.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA