28 September, 2023

What is a Net Promoter Score (NPS)? | Video

In this video I want to answer the question, What is a Net Promoter Score, and how can we calculate it in Project Management?

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Definition of the Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score is a metric to measure stakeholders’ responses to something. It is widely used in market research, to measure customer perceptions. But it has also been adapted to measure employee satisfaction and engagement. And Project Managers can adapt the idea to measure stakeholder perceptions.

The Net Promoter Score was developed in 2003 by Fred Reichheld –a partner at Bain & Company. Now, Bain owns the Net Promoter System, which is a rich and sophisticated toolset.

The Net Promoter System website has a lot of valuable information.

NPS in Project Management

The Project Management Institute introduced the Net Promoter Score into the 7th edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge within the Measurement Performance Domain.

The authors suggest it as a tool to measure stakeholder satisfaction. However, they do not discuss how you can calculate it.

Whilst the Net Promoter System has a distinct methodology, it is a protected intellectual property. So, rather than adopt the NPS in full, I would recommend Project Managers do one of the things we do best and borrow the principle and adapt it to our own needs.

So, what follows is not a formal description of how to calculate a Net Promoter Score, but a suggestion for calculating a score that can measure stakeholder satisfaction. I invite you, in turn, to adapt this to the needs of your projects.

The Basic Net Promoter Score Process

Step 1: Individual Satisfaction

Calculating Stakeholder satisfaction starts with asking each stakeholder to rate their own satisfaction. I suggest a scale from 0 to 10. And yes, include zero, if you want to be honest and allow them to score their satisfaction at nil!

You can also ask each stakeholder a number of questions, and score them on the same basis.

To aggregate the scores simply calculate the averages. You will get a number in the range zero to ten. This represents the state of the full stakeholder group for each question you asked. You can also do this for specific groups of stakeholders to discover who your supporters and opponents are.

Step 2: Supporter or Opponent?

The Second step of the NPS process is to label different parts of this range to represent supporters (or promoters), opponents (or detractors), and neutrals (or passives). The second terms are the ones the NPS system uses. It uses ranges of:

  • 0-6 :  Detractor/Opponent
    These are people who don’t like what you have asked them about and are unhappy about your project.
  • 7-8 :  Passive/Neutral
    These are broadly content, but not yet enthusiastic. They have no big issues, but nor are they celebrating… yet.
  • 9-10 :  Promoter/Supporter
    These are enthusiastic and are likely to be prepared to be active proponents of your project.

Step 3: Overall Score

The third step in the Net Promoter System is to calculate a Net Promoter Score as the percentage of respondents who are Promoters minus the percentage who are Detractors. Then multiply by 100:

NPS = ( P(%) – D(%) ) x 100

This gives a score in the range of:

  • 100% (if every stakeholder is an opponent) to
  • 100% (if every stakeholder is a supporter)

That score is, perhaps, a better representation of the overall feeling than the simple average we calculated earlier.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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