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  • Writer's pictureMatthew B. Courtney, Ed.D.

Soliciting Feedback with the Plus/Delta

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

Welcome to #BeyondTheMean! Check out this post to see what this blog is all about.

Are you struggling to effectively solicit feedback from your stakeholders about the processes and systems that run your school? Are you tired of spending time creating complicated surveys and analyzing responses? Are you challenged to create survey questions that avoid confirmation bias? Allow me to introduce you to the sophisticated and simple Plus/Delta.

The Plus/Delta is a powerful tool to quickly and unemotionally solicit feedback from your stakeholders. It consists of only two questions; meaning that you can whip it out at a moment’s notice and collect feedback without the need for QR codes or photocopies. Simply ask your audience to reflect on two questions.

1. Plus – What are the things you like about this system?

2. Delta – What are the things you think we should change about this system?

It’s really that easy! The Plus/Delta works great with teams of all sizes and is especially useful when you want to understand the users experience of a system. I also use the Plus/Delta to collect feedback on workshops, online course modules I produce, and the books and resources that I put out. It is also a great tool to deploy at the end of a faculty meeting or PLC meeting to solicit broad, general feedback from your staff.

One of my favorite things about the Plus/Delta is that it provides your stakeholders with an opportunity to give an open ended response within a framework that can help you improve your systems over time. By asking your stakeholders to begin by focusing on things they like about the system, you are able to see the parts of the system that are stable and functioning. By focusing the second question on “change” you are prompting your stakeholders to give you a more productive, solutions oriented response to the parts of your system that they don’t like.

When you collect your Plus/Deltas you need to organize the responses into meaningful data that can be used to drive continuous improvement. If you just have a small team, like a content are team meeting, you can easily read though the handful of responses and identify the themes. If you have a larger group, consider applying some elements of qualitative research to your analysis. Qualitative coding techniques, like inductive coding, allow you to sort the comments provided by your stakeholders into themes. You can then weight your themes based on the number of responses in each category to help you prioritize your improvement efforts.

I hope the brevity of this post has demonstrated how straight forward and simple the Plus/Delta process is. It is a great tool to deploy when you need to solicit feedback from stakeholders in a fast and authentic way. By sticking to two simple, open ended questions, you will be able to better understand how your stakeholders feel about the systems that run your school. Good luck on your journey friends!


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