Ongoing monitoring and evaluation: Determining indicators of success

Project assessments must be done regularly to provide the team a better grasp on targets and timeframes. The work must not be restricted to the final stage, when the targeted objectives are too late to revise, or they face the risk of being left unaccomplished. Flexibility is a core concern for staying ahead of difficulties that may be encountered with policy implementation. Being responsive to changing environments and emerging risks is crucial to success. In this sense, ongoing monitoring can be of utmost help both to tackle unexpected outcomes and to identify partial achievements.

Although the following module discusses indicators of success, recognizing measures that can be indicative of progress along the plan´s development is important. Provided outcome-specific objectives have been defined at the planning stage, monitoring will be well targeted.

By focusing on the internal understanding of the program, assessing ongoing activities and the results they produce is possible (that is, whether activities are implemented according to the plan and outputs achieved on time). In this sense, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems allow observing, measuring, and documenting program outputs, and additional data can be gathered through sample surveys, focus group discussions, interviews, and so forth. In any case, as part of the methodology, a critical function is to identify indicators and to design and select the appropriate tools for data collection so as to establish the results chain (the intended sequence of steps that lead to the expected outcomes). Indicators should therefore target each step of this chain and include both quantitative and qualitative input —for example, feedback and opinions expressed by policy makers and participants along the implementation of engagement strategies (OECD 2013).

Communication can take several forms, depending on the flow of information and ability to response.

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