In the first post in the series, we covered the basics of project evaluation, exploring what it is and why you’d want to undertake it, along with the principles underpinning authentic evaluation. Now, we’ll look at effective evaluation process planning.
Before designing your process, there is some work to do – you need to identify the type of evaluation you need to undertake, this could be:
- Goal-Based – Evaluates whether goals have been achieved.
- Process-Based – Assesses process strengths & weaknesses.
- Outcome-Based – Considers the broader impact and benefits.
The next step is to create an evaluation plan. Depending on your project and evaluation needs, the level of complexity could vary significantly but we like to take the KISS principle wherever possible. We suggest that you create a short (think 1 or 2 page) evaluation plan that can encapsulate the key requirements:
- Evaluation Criteria – What criteria are you measuring success against?
- Collection Methods – How will you acquire the data to measure?
- Evaluation Methods – How will you analyse the data?
- Resources and Timelines – Who will be responsible, what is the budget and what are the milestones?
When you actually implement the evaluation, what is the sequence? We’ve identified five key phases:
- Review – Revisit your project and refresh your understanding of the problem/s addressed.
- Gather evidence – Establish a baseline, set up a data collection system, then implement a data collection system (avoid arriving at the conclusion of your project and discovering you’ve overlooked gathering critical data).
- Analyse evidence – Collate and then interrogate the data.
- Synthesise evidence – Examine your analysis to understand where goals were met, problems with the project and strategies to move forward.
- Share findings – Share your impact and learnings internally and with stakeholders.
When you’re ready to get started, sketch out your evaluation plan and get started. But what techniques will you use to collect your data? You will find evaluation methods and tips for method selection in the next post in the series.