Fitness for Purpose

Fitness for purpose is the concept that a product or service is adequate for the purpose for which the consumer selected the product. Fitness can be understood in terms of a binary answer — fit or not — as well as in degrees — how fit.

One helpful way to assess fitness for purpose and obtain actionable feedback for teams as well as from training events and workshops is via a Fitness for Purpose survey. Following is guidance from the authoritative work on the subject, Fit for Purpose: How Modern Businesses Find, Satisfy, and Keep Customers by Alexei Zheglov and David J. Anderson.

How the Survey Works

The first section – the reasons for section – allows the customer to provide up to three statements of purpose he or she had in mind when selecting our service.

The second section – the ratings — is framed to steer customers away from rating or judging our service against some abstract or unstated criteria, since it is linked to the reasons provided in the first section. The customers connect their assessment of our service with the very specific purposes they themselves reported.

The third section – explanation of the scores – provides the space to capture customers’ narratives and gives customers an opportunity to explain their assessment and tell us about their expectations. Such explanations are factual because they compare customers’ stated expectations against what they have already purchased and received from us (as opposed to a hypothetical action, such as what Net Promoter Score uses).


  1. What do you value about this team? If you had a choice, what factors would impact your decision (selection criteria)?
  2. How well does the team fulfill your expectations for each reason?
  3. Why did you give the score in the previous question?
    1. For reason 1
    2. For reason 2
    3. For reason 3

Fitness Box Score

Here’s an example:

74-23-3(35) | 16/20

  • 20: Count of product or service deliveries or surveys possible
  • 16: Out of the 16 customers, 16 completed F4P surveys
  • 35: The 16 repsonses included 35 purposes for choosing the product or service (slection criteria)
  • 74: Of the 35 selection criteria, customers scored 74% of them (26 of 35) as 4 or 5 in Question 2 (meeting or exceeding expectations)
  • 23: Of the same 35, customers scored 23% as 3, a neutral rating 
  • 3: Of the same 35, 3% (1 of 35) rated as unsatisfactory (2 or less), representing a significant gap in expectation and delivery

Trend over time

How Fitness for Purpose Differs from Net Promoter Score

From Fit for Purpose:

The way we present the multiple-choice Question 2 links the customer’s answer strongly to their original purpose. We don’t ask how likely they are to recommend our product or service to their friends or colleagues. We don’t ask the customer to speculate about their future behavior, instead we ask them to report existing facts based on their experience. Customer often look for what’s right for them. They can report factually how they experience our product or service. We don’t ask them to speculate on how another customer might judge its appeal.

Sources and Resources