I’m currently in a discussion on the American Evaluation Association’s Linkedin page about the relationship between monitoring, evaluation and strategic planning. While different consultants may be involved in doing different aspects of these for a client, from a client’s point of view they’re all just parts of their organization’s work which they somehow need to integrate and align.
When working with clients, it really helps to have an approach which lets you move from doing monitoring and evaluation planning, for instance, back to strategic planning. You can then just track whatever their organizational focus is at any moment. From their point of view, it means that monitoring, evaluation etc are seamlessly aligned with strategic planning and other organizational functions.
For instance, working with a client yesterday, using our approach and software, we were building a DoView Visual M&E plan with them (http://doview.com/plan/evaluation.html). These plans are based on a DoView Visual Outcomes Model (http://doview.com/plan/draw.html). The client then said, ‘it’s great what we’ve just done about measurement, but we also need to work out what we’re going to say to our funders about what we want to do next – i.e. our forward strategy’.
So we immediately and seamlessly moved to doing this task for them within the same meeting. We just took the DoView Visual Outcomes Model we had already built with them for monitoring and evaluation planning purposes and went through it, marking up their priorities for future action. The next step will be to map their planned projects onto the DoView and check for ‘line-of-sight’ alignment between their priorities and their planned actions. (see http://doview.com/plan).
It’s great to have the flexibility to move in any direction along the: strategy – priority setting – project alignment – indicator monitoring – evaluation – outcomes-focused contracting spectrum, and to have a tool and approach that lets you immediately go wherever the client wants you to go. This is achieved by using the one visual model (a DoView Visual Outcomes Model drawn according to the 13 rules for drawing DoViews) to underpin all of these activities (http://doview.com/plan/draw.html).
Paul Duignan, PhD OutcomesBlog.org, Twitter.com/paulduignan, OutcomesCentral.org, DoView.com.