An easy-to-use, evidence based QI questionnaire

Succeed is an easy-to-use tool designed to help HIV prevention projects assess their objectives and analyse their ability to meet them with sound, high quality activities.

It allows project personnel and, if required, representatives from the target group and other important stakeholders to jointly review the work and improve it during project implementation. Although relatively simple, Succeed is based on scientific research about success factors in the field of health promotion. It has been specifically adapted for use in HIV prevention. It can be used to review existing interventions or to review a plan for a new one.

Download the Succeed tool (.pdf)  (interactive pdf); the interactive tool is a PDF that you fill in with your information. Please download the tool before opening it and entering any information. To fully access the document’s interactive features you need to upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader.

The Succeed tool is also available in the following languages (.pdf): DEGRITHRLTSK

Download the Succeed factsheet EN – SKLT

SUCCEED – e-learning

Viveca Urwitz

Succeed: Introduction

What is Succeed?

Succeed is an easy to use quality improvement tool using a guided questionnaire to help projects or programmes assess three aspects of their project: the structure, the process and the results. It is a self –diagnostic / self-assessment approach to quality improvement, helping the project to meet its own goals.

How will Succeed help improve quality?

Succeed documents what is working well, what improvement actions need to be taken, by whom and in what time frame.

Positive responses to questions generally indicate that a project or programme has a good structure and is being run in a way which will lead to intended (and quality) results. The more positive answers there are, the greater the likelihood that the project is of high quality. But it is not an examination, so there is no point in faking positive responses. The tools help to show what is working well and what can be improved upon, so honesty really is the best policy.

Negative answers will point to areas for improvement for planning and implementing on the project. Negative responses may need careful consideration as people may feel attacked or defensive which can result in resistance to improvements. Because negative responses provide opportunities for discussions on what improvements can be made, they are an essential part of the process.

You may decide that a negative response to a question requires actions that are unrealistic given the resources required, the values of the project or accessibility issues relating to the target group, for example. Or you may decide to review your goals as a result of a negative response. That is part of the value of this self-diagnostic approach and Succeed helps to make such decisions explicit.

Documentation is a key part of the application of the Succeed tool and the improvement process. Record all agreed recommendations and actions for improvement. You can then incorporate them into future action plans and strategies and review them within agreed timeframes.

Do not forget to note the achievements of the project to date where the questions are answered with yes or another positive answer! Succeed highlights areas of good quality as well as areas for improvement.

Background and evidence of effectiveness:

Succeed is a Quality Improvement questionnaire based on scientific research about success factors in the field of health promotion and has been evaluated for its effectiveness. It has been adapted from general health promotion for specific use in the field of HIV.

Evaluations of the original tool ‘How to Succeed in Health Promotion’ have shown that applying the tool helped different stakeholders improve their understanding of the project, as well as their own role in its activities and results.

Berensson, K., Granath, M. and Urwitz, V. (1996) Succeeding with Health Promotion Projects – Quality Assurance. Landstingsförbundet (The Association of County Councils).

Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (1999) Uppföljning av kvalitetsmanualen “Att lyckas med folkhälsoprojekt”.

Maj Ader, Karin Berensson, Peringe Carlsson, Marianne Granath and Viveca Urwitz (2001) Quality Indicators for health promotion programmes. Health Promotion International. Vol 16, No.2. Oxford University Press.

What are the benefits of Succeed?

Succeed helps highlight achievements of the project and focuses on good practice and the quality of the work being done in a transparent way. It helps focus on questions such as: Are the goals clear? Are the right populations being reached? Are there sufficient resources and expertise to meet the goals? Is the message getting across to the key populations?

Succeed helps re-define and improve areas of work that may have become habitual. It also helps identify gaps in current practice.

Succeed is easy to use and accessible. It allows for different levels of application, from simple (using available data) to medium (collecting additional data) to in-depth (providing indicators for evaluation).

Succeed also allows for different levels of participation from high to low. It involves stakeholders in the change process, improves knowledge of the projects and clarifies the roles of participants.

Succeed workshops can motivate stakeholders so they become more engaged with the project.

Succeed helps produce of better documentation and reporting. A completed report identifying key success factors, clear and measureable goals and quality improvement actions can provide opportunities for stakeholders to participate more fully in the project and help embed the quality improvement process as a way of working.

When can Succeed be used?

You can use Succeed to review existing projects and programmes and help to ensure that the work of a project is steered in the planned direction. While it is not in itself a planning tool, it can be used to review a plan for a new project.

Succeed is designed primarily for organisations implementing HIV prevention interventions in projects or programmes. It is equally useful for large or small organisations, governmental or non-governmental, for projects working on the prevention of new HIV infections and those projects working with people living with HIV. Any project, programme or organisation working with population-based health promotion and prevention can use Succeed. The only requirements are a defined goal (however unclear), a defined plan and actions.

Case studies

Click here to view the Saphy project case study

Click here to view the MMSM project-case study

Click here to view the NSP project case study

Succeed: Applying in practice

What is the structure of Succeed?

Structure of Succeed?

Succeed covers three aspects of quality and the questionnaire is divided into these three parts: Structure, Process, Results. Each part has several sections. See Applying in Practice for further information.

‘Structure’ involves the set-up of the project, the organisation of operations and resources; it has 6 sub-sections: Goals, Key Populations, Approach, Responsibility, Organisation and Resources.

‘Process’ focuses on the activities of the project or programme; it has 3 sub-sections: Support and Participation, Networks and Reach & Response.

‘Results’ focuses on the difference a project is making and what can be measured; there are 3 sub-sections: Measuring Effects, Environmental, Operational and Social Changes and Sustainability.

Each section includes yes/no questions, open questions and action questions.

How can Succeed be used?

The scientific evidence base for the tool relates to its original format.

It is ideal if you answer the questionnaire as a whole. If a question is not (yet) relevant for your project, make sure to note why it is not (yet) relevant. Don’t be tempted to just answer the easy questions!

It is essential that you remain faithful to the methodology, where a positive answer indicates good quality and a negative answer indicates areas for improvement.

The more detail you provide, the better the picture you get about what improvements can be made to the project.

You need to support your answers. You may not have all the information you need and may have to collect it to support your answers, using more structured and/or extensive investigations, measurements, surveys, literature reviews etc., depending on the scope of the project. You can use them to support the evidence base for the particular project.

Stakeholders – Who should be involved?

You can complete Succeed either alone or, preferably, as part of a group where you discuss it with the participants. The participation of relevant stakeholders is an important ingredient in the success of the implementation of Succeed. The more different and appropriate perspectives you involve, the more complete will be the picture the tool provides for your project. The evaluation of Succeed as being effective relates to its application in a group discussion.

As the tool is easy to use and accessible, Succeed makes it possible for members of staff, the target group and other significant stakeholders to work together to jointly review the project, with a focus on improving its implementation. The results are likely to be more useful and interesting the more different perspectives you manage to invite to respond to the questionnaire.

Decide who to involve in the tool application: Do you want to involve the project team only? The project team and other members of your organisation such as the manager or other decision makers, other people close the operational level, board members etc? The project team, volunteers and some representatives from the key population who know your project and a manager? Some from the project team, target groups, key stakeholders, manager etc? Some stakeholders can contribute more to some sections than others. It may help to divide them into smaller working groups and then discuss their responses together.

It may be useful to appoint an independent person (they could be from another part of the organisation if resources are tight) to facilitate the implementation of the tool and/or a discussion about the responses to the questionnaire. The greater the diversity of participants you invite and the more participants you invite, the greater the need for a qualified facilitator.

What resources are required?


It can be useful to send the questionnaire to everyone involved in the application in advance of the meeting/s so that everyone has prepared input for the discussions.

If there are 12 people or more to be involved, it might be useful to have more than one group, using 10 as the recommended maximum group size. If you are not experienced with the tool, we recommend having not more than 8 people in a group.

Decide what time is available and when meetings will be held. It is advisable to tell people in advance that the time for the application should be made completely free and that phones and computer access should be reserved for the breaks.

Decide whether you need an external facilitator and nominate a note-taker so that the discussion is documented.


In addition to the preparation time, you can complete the application of Succeed within a timeframe of between one or two days, depending on levels of detail required and the numbers of people involved in the process. It can sometimes be helpful to have an initial meeting to go through the questionnaire. You will also need time to gather additional data on open questions and to complete the questionnaire. We recommend you plan for a second meeting some time later to review an action plan for quality improvement.


Creating an open and supportive environment for reflection is essential. Time-tabling, allowing for sufficient breaks, food, comfortable surroundings with good light and air, can all be considered when choosing the best venue for implementing the tool.


The application of the tool itself need not require additional resources. It may be possible to use meeting rooms that are free of charge, for example. Food and travel expenses may or may not be an issue, depending upon geographical spread. Using Succeed may however point to the need for additional resources for the improvement of the project itself.


the number of people involved depends on your decisions about participation. See Stakeholders above.

Challenges of using Succeed?

Succeed may highlight serious deficiencies and/or lack of sufficient data to support the project. This could impact on morale unless there was a positive commitment to the challenge of quality improvement. It is better to keep things simple in the early days of quality improvement than lose the support of important stakeholders.

Some participants may feel intimidated by the size of the questionnaire. It can appear less daunting if you point out all the empty space included for the answers. Otherwise, the questionnaire is very accessible.

Identifying areas for improvement may cause some people to become defensive and therefore resistant. Some people may also be resistant to applying a more structured way of thinking and working. Here, it helps to establish a positive and open atmosphere for reflection. Plan in advance how to handle the possibility of negative responses and resistance to change. Differences of opinion can help clarify assumptions. See Values Clarification or the Shift tool (links) for methods that may help.

People often struggle with the difference between the implementation of a self-diagnostic Quality Improvement tool and a formal evaluation process. Those involved in the application of the tool need to have trust in the process and must be able to decide how the information gathered is communicated to decision-makers and / or funders. You might consider how to help funders and decision makers to understand the value of Quality Improvement.

Checklist for implementing Succeed

Other People using Succeed

Viveca Urwitz
Catherine Kennedy
Mick Quinlan
Siobhan O’Higgins
Susan Donnellan
Ina Herrestad
Laura Hill
Jasmina Pavlic

Succeed Downloads

Supporting Materials

Further information about the EU Health Programme from DG SANCO can be found here.
A database of all funded projects can be found on the website of the Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA)

This website is part of the Joint Action on Improving Quality in HIV Prevention (Quality Action), which has received funding from the European Union within the framework of the Health Programme.

For further information about Quality Action, please contact us here.