Why monitor and evaluate your projects?
If you are not taking the time to monitor and evaluate your projects you are probably missing a trick. It is an essential part of the project management process. It can provide valuable learning for your organisation and even benefit society as a whole.
Project monitoring and evaluation will certainly satisfy a healthy curiosity. It enables you to determine what is working and what isn’t. The data collected from the evaluation process can also be a catalyst for social change and innovation.
Monitoring and evaluating your projects is an effective way to explore and identify the needs of your stakeholders and provides an accurate understanding of the impact your project is making. Often we may think in terms of numbers and data. Understanding the needs, perceptions, experiences and motivation of your project stakeholders provides meaningful data. It enables you to identify any unexpected outcomes, the benefits and impact of your project.
There is a misconception that project monitoring and evaluation takes place at the end of the project. It’s best to set the benchmarks and performance indicators at the early stages. This will help to monitor progress during the project life-cycle. In some cases the real impact is not realised until sometime after the project is completed. Allocating time to revisit and review the impact of your project is essential.
There are numerous project monitoring and evaluation tools and techniques from online surveys, feedback questionnaires, interviews to focus groups and peer reviews. Adopting a breadth of techniques will make the results more objective. Congruency is the key. Make sure you are transparent when collecting data, explaining the reason for doing an evaluation. It may be worth having someone neutral to collect feedback on your organisation’s behalf.
Think about who will view your project evaluation report and adopt suitable language and format. There is value in sharing your findings with a wide audience. It can help to drive future investment and raise awareness of your organisation’s work. There are now sophisticated data visualisation tools that enable you to post results online in a visual form. Similarly online videos and pictures are effective ways of sharing your data. We shouldn’t under-estimate the value of data in shaping future projects and social innovation.
When should you hire a consultant to evaluate your projects or can you achieve great results with your in-house resources?
For more information on Project Management and Impact Measurement join us on our one-day training event or contact Kemi Bamidele on 020 7183 2624 and find out about our project management consultation service.