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Using Agile project management to measure project’s impact - eStudy 121

Presenter: Marcel Chiranov, Manage for Change, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director

Description: Importance – Impact measurement seems to have entered quite late in the organizational culture of the entities implementing projects or programs. Understanding the impact of a program can improve the quality and the effectiveness of the respective program, and thus it is of major interest to many organizations and donors. During this period when the budgets are stretched and when more and more people are interested to “do more with less”, being able to design and implement projects with tangible impact in real life can be a substantial competitive advantage for any organization.

Still it seems there are people questioning whether impact measurement should be on the evaluators' agenda, or rather on the managers’ agenda, since they are responsible for project’s planning and implementation. Without trying to answer this dilemma, we will present a way to measure the impact of an intervention using an Agile project management approach. It is rare for the impact to be fully understood, or correctly, anticipated in the program-planning phase. Quite often this learning builds up during the implementation, based on multiple variables (stakeholders interaction and learning, positive developments in project’s environment, synergy with other economic, social, or policy initiatives, etc.). Being able to understand when, and how, to approach impact measurement can make the difference between a successful project and a not very successful one. We expect the donors to become more and more interested in impact measurement, as a tool to maximize their investments’ efficiency. Impact assessment, or impact evaluation, are not considered to be discussed during this workshop.
Key words - impact measurement, Agile project management

Definition – There is no generally accepted definition for impact. There are works speaking about “impact assessment”, or “impact evaluation”, several authors somehow mixing, or overlapping those concepts. In this webinar we are going to speak about “impact measurements” as the totality of planned, and/or unplanned, outputs and/or outcomes, where the intervention has contribution, or attribution. In other words, the impact measurement is representing the real life changes caused by the project’s implementation. The projects are acting in complex environments, with many social, economic, security or policy variables. Gaining enough understanding to be able to distinguish between a project’s attribution and contribution would require significant resources, which generally are not available, or are better used to other ends. For this reason, we prefer to treat both attribution and contribution equally.

Approach - The purpose is to offer a formalized approach in measuring the impact, adding the Agile project management approach to the “traditional” project implementation cycles: plan-execute-control-(adjust)-close. The case studies will present situations where the Agile approach was executed somewhere during execution, or after the close out phase. In one case study we used an automated data processing software which was designed in the planning phase, but it has been used for the impact measurement in an Agile step performed later, during the project’s execution, when it was clear what type of impact to expect.

Advocacy connection - Quite often, we see projects using projects metrics in their advocacy and communication work, and sometimes this language is not easy to understand by some of the stakeholders, resulting in less efficient advocacy campaigns. Based on the presented case studies we will explain how, starting from impact metrics, we did some little extra work to present them in metrics that are more relevant to the stakeholders - usually connected with the local development strategy, or monetary metrics. We noticed the stakeholders are much more receptive to this type of metrics, which are more relevant for their organizations, or their professional interest.

Learning Outcomes:

  • A methodology to measure the impact
  • Understand the differences and similarities between the “traditional” project management and Agile project management, to be used for further planning
  • Translate impact metrics in friendly language for advocacy purposes

Who Should Attend?
  • Evaluators and monitoring and evaluation specialists who are interested to find new ways to measure the impact of their projects.
  • Donors’ representatives, project directors, strategy-planning experts looking for practical ways to plan and measure impact, as an effective way to improve their programs’ efficiency and effectiveness.

This workshop is aligned to AEA’s Competencies as follows:
  • Focuses on technical aspects of evidence-based, systematic inquiry for valued purposes.
  • Methodology includes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed designs for learning, understanding, decision-making, and judging.
  • Focuses on understanding the unique circumstances, multiple perspectives, and changing settings of evaluations and their users/stakeholders.
  • Context involves site/location/ environment, participants/stakeholders, organization/structure, culture/diversity, history/traditions, values/beliefs, politics/economics, power/privilege, and other characteristics.
  • Focuses on determining and monitoring work plans, timelines, resources, and other components needed to complete and deliver an evaluation study.
  • Planning and management include networking, developing proposals, contracting, determining work assignments, monitoring progress, and fostering use
  • Focuses on human relations and social interactions that ground evaluator effectiveness for professional practice throughout the evaluation.
  • Interpersonal skills include cultural competence, communication, facilitation, and conflict resolution.

This workshop is aligned to AEA’s Guiding Principles as follows:
  • Systematic Inquiry: Evaluators conduct data-based inquiries that are thorough, methodical, and contextually relevant. By using the Agile project management this would be more efficient than in the “traditional” project management.
  • Competence: Evaluators provide skilled professional services to stakeholders. The suggested approach would be practical, to demonstrate the real life changes dues to the project.
  • Integrity: Evaluators behave with honesty and transparency in order to ensure the integrity of the evaluation. By eventually showing tangible impact evidence, this will demonstrate transparency and honesty.
  • Respect for People: Evaluators honor the dignity, well-being, and self-worth of individuals and acknowledge the influence of culture within and across groups. Permanent communication, negotiation and shared learning with the stakeholders to measure project’s impact will show respect for people, and for the cultural differences.
  • Common Good and Equity: Evaluators strive to contribute to the common good and advancement of an equitable and just society. Exploring the real life changes of the project is expected to demonstrate and support the common good, equal opportunities for all, and equitable society.

Facilitation Experience:
The trainer has over 20 years’ experience in delivering consulting and training for various audiences in the fields of project management, evaluation, impact measurement and performance management.

He successfully delivered project management training following Project Management Institute’s Body of Knowledge for over 250 students between 2006 and 2012.
Performance management training for various internationally-funded programs: Labor Redeployment Program (funded by USAID and World Bank), Governance Reform and Sustainable Partnership (funded by USAID), Romanian Health Care Reform Program (funded by USAID), Global Libraries Romania (funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and Global Libraries programs in various countries (funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Efficiency and effectiveness of performance management system – Romanian Payment Agency for Rural Development and Fishery (funded by EU), Combating Trafficking of Women in Moldova (funded by US Department of Labor).
Evaluation, impact measurement and training for: “Governance Reform and Sustainable Partnership” (funded by USAID),” Global Libraries Romania: (funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and Global Libraries programs in various countries (funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), “Efficiency and effectiveness of performance management system” implemented for the Romanian Payments Agency for Rural Development and Fishery, “Impact measurement of the microfinance services in Afghanistan”.

The performance management, evaluation and impact assessment trainings were delivered to program staff, program beneficiaries, and program stakeholders. The trainer designed all the necessary materials in all cases. Since each of those groups had different needs and different skills, the training materials have always been adjusted to fit the specific requirements that made them relevant and efficient. Over 550 people participated in the trainings.

The trainer has been active for the past few years at the American Evaluation Association Conferences
  • In 2014 he facilitated a Roundtable on "Evaluation data addiction - a step toward efficient advocacy”
  • In 2016 he delivered the Professional Development Workshop entitled “Designing and Evaluating Program Sustainability”
  • In 2018 and 2019 the presenter delivered the Professional Development Workshop entitled “The power of data-based advocacy - using evaluation and project measurements for management decisions”
The workshop is based on a process the trainer designed and implemented between 2009 and 2017 for the Global Libraries Initiative from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and for an EU program implemented in Romania - “Efficiency and effectiveness of performance management system” implemented for the Romanian Payments Agency for Rural Development and Fishery (this is a national agency managing a yearly budget of 9 billion Euros).

The entire workshop will be very dynamic and interactive. In each stage, the participants will understand “what’s in it for them”, so that they will be able to quickly make connections between their daily work and the content of the workshop.
The trainer started remote/online project management work, coaching and training since 2014, and led few projects’ implementation in full remote work.

Dates:
June 15th, 2022 12:00 - 1:30 PM ET
June 22nd, 2022 12:00 - 1:30 PM ET

Note:
Once you purchase the eStudy you must register for each session. Recordings will be made available to registrants unable to attend sessions live. Recordings will be made available to all registrants for 90 days.