Key Success Factor 8: Feedback *
A popular phrase over the last decade from TQM is the customer is king. It makes a great deal of sense to recognize that the user of the product is the one who should have the final say in whether it is effective and meets user needs. An IPT also needs feedback from the customer. What makes this issue challenging is that there is not just one customer, but many. Not only does the weapon system have to satisfy the operating forces who are clearly the ultimate customer, but the sponsor, the requirements developers, budget offices, acquisition chain of command, and other team/organizations.
A formal or informal feedback program is one way of improving customer satisfaction and working the multi-customer problem. Feedback represents the primary cycle upon which IPTs can learn how well they are satisfying their customers and know when to take action to improve their effectiveness. IPTs that operate at lower levels within a program office also may have multiple customers and need the same sort of feedback from them as well.
Without feedback, there is no mechanism by which an IPT can change its direction or find its mistakes early enough to make cost effective changes. Data on innovation studies have indicated that, in the commercial marketplace, as much as seventy percent of all new ideas come from customers. In addition, constant communication and rapport with customers make it easier for an IPT to shift directions, if needed, by gaining consensus. This complements the enterprise partnering success factor that seeks to develop an enterprise-wide collaboration to achieve program goals. Feedback seeks to find information, opinions, and suggestions on how well an IPT is carrying out its responsibilities relative to the product needed by the customers.
* Navy IPT Learning Campus, Version 1.1.