Focus Groups

Posted on April 22, 2009 by

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The Focus Group is common across many disciplines, including project management. They are a tool of the PMBOK®’s Collect Requirements process. The desired type of group should be determined. A homogenous group will have similar people who likely have similar perspectives. A heterogeneous group will contain a variety of people who have varying perspectives. A homogenous group will likely feel more comfortable voicing their opinions and will more likely come to a group consensus. A heterogeneous group will display the interaction of different perspectives. There should be at least several people in the focus group, but beware of allowing the group to so large that people become reluctant to speak. It’s common that not everybody who is invited will come, so more people can be invited than are needed. About an hour is a good length of time for a focus group session—they shouldn’t be so long that people lose interest. The moderator of the focus group should have questions prepared beforehand, and encourage participation from everyone. The focus group should be recorded for later analysis and summary. For more on this topic, see the earlier posting of Collect Requirements Process (posted February 24, 2009).