Evaluation and Performance Measurement – No Time Like the Present to Get Started!

As we launch into 2016, I thought it befitting to start my first-ever blog with information about how to help you get started anew in making the best use of evaluation and performance measurement, whether you are working in the government, not-for-profit or private sectors. Although all three sectors may view evaluation and performance measurement from slightly different lenses, there is still much in common.

But first, a word about terminology.

Over my many years in this practice, first in the federal government as an evaluator and since 2000 as a consultant in evaluation and performance measurement, I have found that different organizations use different terminology, and even the same organizations can use different terminology! I use the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) glossary for two reasons; first, a number of my clients in the federal government also use the TBS lexicon and second, many of my NFP clients receive federal funding to deliver programs, so reporting back to the funder using the same language is helpful and encouraged.

So what’s next in making the most of evaluation and performance measurement?

Well, an excellent starting point to get a sense of what program evaluation and performance measurement entails, the promises it holds, and the pitfalls to be aware of can be found in the December, 2015 edition of the Canadian Government Executive magazine. From the editorial devoted to program evaluation and performance measurement’s “sensational future” to articles from my respected colleagues on The Future of Program Evaluation (Benoit Gauthier), Structuring Evaluations (and Performance Measurement!) for Learning (John Mayne), Community-level Evaluation (Linda Lee and Natalie Kishchuk), Evaluation and Results-based Management (Robert Lahey), and The Tyranny of Wrong Measures (Mark Schacter), all are excellent reads and great starting points for your journey.

With the new Liberal government and the increased emphasis on evaluation and performance measurement, there is no time like the present to learn more about what evaluation and performance measurement can and cannot do for your organization!

I look forward to exploring each of these articles with you in future blog posts and reflecting further on my own learnings and experience. If you’re eager to delve into performance measurement more deeply sooner rather than later, you may wish to join me at my upcoming workshops on logic models and theories of change (a critical tool used in evaluation and performance measurement) and / or performance measurement (developing good performance indicators and a strategy for their collection and use) being offered at our Intersol training facility in Ottawa on February 9 and 10. See next dates on our Training page.

In the meantime, please do get in touch with any questions or comments by email at jbirch-jones@intersol.ca