The second point of our initial blog on BBS concerns the importance of piloting your intervention. Why conduct a pilot test?
A pilot test will help confirm if you are ready for full-scale implementation. A pilot test can serve as a trial run for your program and can help determine if any adjustments to your plan or adaptations to the program are necessary. It can also reveal unforeseen challenges that might arise during implementation (i.e., issues with the setting and logistics, particular lessons or activities for which more staff training or attention may be necessary) and ensures that your staff are well prepared to handle issues that come up during the full-scale implementation.
Pilot testing is an opportunity to gauge how your people will react to the program. It’s best to select a pilot group that is similar to your program’s specific target groups. The feedback from these people can offer a glimpse into how the group may respond to the plan. Most importantly, it can help confirm whether or not your program is a good fit for your people and whether minor adaptations to the program are appropriate or necessary.
Pilot testing can help you make better decisions about how to allocate time and resources. Pilot testing your program can help you determine if you need to spend more time or resources on particular aspects of the program. For example, you might learn that changes to your recruitment strategy are necessary or that you need to allocate more time for completing the evaluation activities than you had originally anticipated.
Pilot testing can help ensure that you are well prepared to measure the success of your program. A pilot test can highlight any adjustments to your evaluation plan that might be necessary to ensure that you are measuring the desired outcomes in the best way possible. The pilot test will be an opportunity to test your evaluation instruments as well. The pilot test will give both the evaluation team and the implementation team a chance to work together before full implementation and troubleshoot any issues that might arise with the distribution and collection of the evaluation data.