This is the third virtual "fireside chat" that I'm writing regarding the RoadTest Program. For this one, I'd like to roll out a RoadTest Program change and explain why the change is occurring.
To start, I'd like to share a snippet of an email I received yesterday from a vendor who participates in the RoadTest Program:
"We received only 13% reviews back from the RoadTests we sponsored in 2016. I would like to know the status of each of these roadtests. Are the missing reviews still being pursued? I would also like to know if the members that failed to post a review are now being flagged so we do not chose them again."
It was not pleasant to respond to. I had to eat "humble pie," as we say in the US, when I responded to this vendor.
To solve the problem, I decided I don't want to go down the road of suspending members from the RoadTest program. Suspensions sound too much like the hard rules of the military. I was in the Navy for 10 years and I didn't like tough rules back then, but I knew they were necessary given the reality of uncomfortable shipboard conditions and potentially dangerous operations we were participating in.
But this is a community. It should be a place to have some fun, meet new people, network professionally, be a mentor, or get mentored. Suspending people just is the wrong road to follow.
The way I've chosen to resolve the problem is the program change.
RoadTest application reports will soon include whether a specific applicant has completed all of his/her previous RoadTest reviews. I'm told by our developers this is very easy to do. We will provide this information to the vendor with a RoadTester's application. The supplier will make the decision where to select the RoadTester or not. Given the above comment by the supplier, I think the answer is self-evident.
Now, this change will probably cause me more work. If someone were flagged, I will have to check to see if that person is on a current RoadTest and it's before the due date of the official review. I surely don't want to penalize a conscientious RoadTester. I will also have to ensure there are not any extenuating circumstances that have caused the person not to write the review, i.e., sickness, family issues.
I am ambivalent about this whole thing. There are many RoadTesters who are doing a fantastic job. But a 13% success rate is not successful. I really have no choice but to implement this change.
RoadTest Program Manager