To get a better understanding about which elements of your project cycle are strong and should be maintained and which need to be further developed, revised or reviewed.
How does it work?
The assessment tool looks at the stages and key activities in the project cycle (planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting) and to which extent reflection, learning and reporting take place throughout this cycle.
This tool operates with five specific criteria that were identified as the most essential for defining sustainable and reliable monitoring, evaluation and learning practices within project work:
- Relevance and innovation
- Planning and design
- Reporting and accountability
For each criteria two analytical levels – norming and doing – are distinguished helping you to better understand different aspects of monitoring, evaluation and learning in project work.
- Norming refers to the institutionalised and explicitly formulated organisational procedures ensuring that the organisation has agreed on and outlined specific practices as guidelines for its members in their daily work.
Example: the organisation has developed a written strategic plan that contains organisational goals, success indicators and a corresponding time frame.
- Doing refers to the actual action the organisation undertakes in the respective dimension.
Example: if and how often the organisation actually makes use of its strategic plans and uses them as the basis for its operations.
Specific quality indicators are listed in the assessment tool, which will help you to measure your practices per criteria. The indicators are measuring the availability of documents, relevance, utilization, effort and efficiency in their work.
After you have read the indicator you can assess this aspect by marking if your organisation is: not even close, has a long way to go, is halfway, almost there or already there. These scale is used throughout the entire assessment. In addition, some examples of possible sources are displayed to verify the indicators more easily. You are encouraged to customise the tool by adding your own data sources.
As a result of this assessment process you will have an overview of where your organisation stands in terms of all analysed criteria and indicators. Then you can start to reflect on the assessment by summarising the main strengths and weakness in terms of Norming and Doing and making a concrete action plan based on your conclusions!
How long will it take?
A three-hour sessions may be enough to identify your main strengths and weaknesses for these 5 criteria. Yet, you need to plan a series of sessions if you want to analyse in more depth your practice and design a strategy to improve your practices at the project level.
Step by step:
Step 1) Download the assessment tool and save it to your device.
Step 2) Print out one exemplar of the assessment tool for each person that will be involved in the self-assessment at the project level of your organisation (RECOMMENDED)
OR convert the document to any program you like to work with on your device (online or offline), such as Google drive, Excel, PDF working document.
Step 3) Read the ‘Getting ready for the assessment’ section below (brief explanation) or read page 1-3 of this document (elaborated explanation, RECOMMENDED)!
Step 4) Start assessing by ‘marking’ for each indicator of the criteria that you selected, if your organisation is:
Not even close
Has long way to go
or Already there
Step 5) Analyse your results
Step 6) Reflect on your results
Step 7) Make an action plan for improvement
Step 8) Go to the learning for projects page of the guide to find concrete tips and tools per each of the 5 criteria that you can use while you make and implement your action plan.
Getting ready for the assessment
Assessing monitoring, evaluation and learning practices at project or organisational level requires preparation. You will need to gather information about your work and create spaces for reflection and analysis of this information.
A team effort. Rarely, one person has all the answers and therefore a complete overview of organisational practices, so we emphasise that assessment is a participatory team effort.
Preparation is essential. A good preparation is key to make the most of an assessment exercise. Before starting the assessment, we suggest that you consider the following questions:
- What? Is it clear what the assessment is about? What can you expect from this exercise?
- Why? Why should you assess your monitoring, evaluation and learning practices?
- Who? Who else should participate in the assessment?
- How? What methods can you use to organise an assessment process?
- When? What is the best moment to engage in an assessment exercise? How long should it take?
You can read more about how to address these questions and prepare for the assessment in the first 3 pages of the following document.
Finished with the assessment? Go to Learning for Projects to take concrete actions to improve your project’s work or continue with the Assessing your Practices at the Organisational Level.