David Housman

Survey Deployment at Ludicrous Speed


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a stakeholder wanted to know about the people that entered the site on a specific page, so that he could customize the page and lower the bounce rate. The job called for an entry popup, but there were potential issues with that, so we played it safe and embedded a survey link into the page.

It took a few hours to create a super-short survey and I thought we were halfway home.  We weren’t. Unfortunately Engineering was busy at that time, so we had to wait. By the time QA was complete, we had missed the release we were aiming for, and we had to wait for the next one. It took 7 weeks to deploy that questionnaire. We blew the deadline big time.

The costs of a survey study go beyond acquiring a tool or creating a questionnaire. Cost of tool acquisition is important but remember to think about the big picture: total cost per study. The toll of survey research with high costs per study are counted in good studies that never see the light of day because

  • The effort to run a study is more than the value of the study
  • The study takes so long that you can’t finish until its too late

Easier to deploy => lower costs per study => more research.

Speed and flexibility are important qualities of a survey suite because when you’re conducting research, the business is not going to stop and wait for your study to finish. Lets compare deploying a survey in house against using the Qualtrics Intercept, which can bypass engineering and a release because it does everything through configuration.

Hard Coded form Qualtrics
Steps to set up
  • Write requirements
  • Product
  • Project
  • Engineering
  • QA
  • Release
  • Sit at desk
  • Open browser.
  • Click “Qualtrics” bookmark.
  • Make changes.
  • QA
Time to set up
  • When are resources available?
  • When is the next release?
  • Weeks? Months? Ever?
From inception to data collection in less than a day.
Recommendation Consider taking up a hobby while you wait for your study to be deployed. I’m told that knitting is an excellent way to pass the time. Warning: The euphoria from lightning fast survey deployment is addictive. If you suspect that you or your children are abusing Qualtrics, there are QA (Qualtrics Anonymous) groups out there that can help.



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