James Governor's Monkchips

On Sample Sizes for Magic Quadrants

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[link redacted here at Gartner’s request]

“To assist with the evaluation, Gartner analysts performed detailed interviews with 105 reference accounts to assess customer perceptions of each vendor’s strengths and weaknesses.”

I am a bit surprised by the sample size. 105 reference accounts across at least 16 vendors…. doesn’t seem to be as deep as one would expect, even with when overlaps are considered.

I always think of Gartner polling across thousands, not a hundred customers for this kind of study. You live and learn.


  1. unless it has changed I used to average over 1,000 in-coming client calls on a wide range of topics. Kind off like drinking from a fire hose. If that still holds true ourbound calling need mot be large samples…

  2. previous comment should Hve said when I was a Gartner analyst -95-99

  3. good point Vinnie. thanks for the input – i suspected as much but Gartner didn’t explictly state that in the methodology statement… why not track the number of queries and provide some of that data for methodology purposes. might be especially appropriate for the BI Quadrant.

    fwiw – the new quadrant is good work and i applaud the new methodology and transparency. its very good.

  4. funny they asked you to remove the link -could you email over?

    Usually, they don’t even do any surveys for MQ’s. That’s what some call a dartboard-methodology…

  5. Are you referring to a BI or DW Quadrant. Have not seen it, what is covered in it?

  6. You should really ask two questions?

    1. Who are these enterprises that are responding? We never seem to participate yet we have a keen desire to!

    2. What is the value proposition for enterprises to participate in research? To be charged for the results? I know the answer but many others dont…

  7. its actually a really good piece of work – where they opened the kimono on methodology and so on. i planned a follow up saying how good it is – go check it out. but i can’t do that now.

  8. Damn those union rules ;^)

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