The purpose of this course is to provide new and experienced evaluation professionals and funders with strategies, tools, and skills to: (1) develop realistic evaluation plans, (2) negotiate needed adjustments when issues arise, (3) organize and manage evaluation teams, (4) monitor evaluation activities and budgets, (5) protect evaluation independence and rigor while responding to client needs, and (6) ensure the quality of evaluation products and briefings.
Evaluation managers have a complex job. Against a backdrop of demanding technical requirements and a dynamic political environment, the goal of evaluation management is to develop, with available resources and time, valid and useful measurement information and findings, and ensure the quality of the process, products, and services included in the evaluation contract. Management decisions influence methodological decisions and vice versa, as method choice has cost implications.
The course methodology will be experiential and didactic, drawing on participants’ experience and engaging them with diverse material. It will include assessments, quizzes, games, checklists, case examples, access to a curated site of readings, and tools. At the end of this training, participants will have a comprehensive view of evaluation management, and will be prepared to follow a systematic process for commissioning and managing evaluations. They will receive guidance and tools to support each evaluation management activity, and be able to identify areas where they need further development. Ultimately, they will feel more confident to lead evaluation teams and negotiate with clients and evaluators for better evaluations.
Module 1: The Role of an Evaluation Manager
This introductory module has two parts. In the first part, we will clarify the role of the evaluation manager(s), the criteria we use to assess effective evaluation management, and the competencies required in evaluation management. This will ground the areas of emphasis in the overall course.
In the second part, we will use a case example and dive into a skills-focused section on conducting evaluation contracts including task analysis, staffing, and budgeting.
Module 2: The Importance of Context and Planning
In this module, we will explore the client-evaluator relationship, and discuss how to make it a successful one in different types of evaluation commissioner environments (U.S. Government, United Nations, foundations, etc.). We will review the authority and limitations of each party, and explore how to partner while staying independent in that important relationship. Internal evaluators deal with issues of authority and independence differently, thus this section is also relevant to them.
We will then move to the role of the manager in evaluation planning: context, vision for the evaluation, mastering logistics, and the outputs of evaluation planning. We will focus on the role of the evaluation manager regardless of evaluation design, but will refer different designs and how some designs add complexity to evaluation management.
We will end this module with a test on the content of the first two modules.
Module 3: Communications, Negotiations, and Relationship Management
In the first part of this module, we will explore the key management competency of communication, including how evaluation managers can build on their strengths to fulfill their communication and negotiation responsibilities.
In the second part of this module, we will explore the evaluation manager’s responsibility to build and manage an evaluation team, including team planning, supervision, negotiating, and managing stress.
This module will end with a test on the contents of the first three modules.
Module 4: Quality Control and Oversight
In the first part of this module, we will review how evaluation managers must fulfill their role of monitoring the implementation of an evaluation, from data collection to report writing. We will identify pause points and appropriate interventions for the evaluation manager, and discuss living in the nexus of fulfilling contract requirements, responding to client needs, and protecting independence.
In the second part of this module, we will play an evaluation management game that brings all of the concepts and skills of the course together.