Evaluation is an important part of the implementation process. At what point should evaluation begin? At what point should the readjustment process begin? How would you go about determining this? Are these processes the same for every project? Why or why not?
Evaluation is considered to be an integral component of the implementation process. Wu et al. (2019) described evaluation as a periodic and systemic assessment of the planning, design, implementation, characteristics, outcomes and implications of a particular intervention or program. As such, evaluation begins at the planning phase since it is primarily focused on the collection and analysis of background information and data regarding the various activities, opportunities and challenges as well as strategies and measures to support successful realization of the intervention.
The readjustment process begins during the pursuit of mid-course corrections to the process evaluation plan or the project document. Edwards et al. (2019) insisted that the readjustment to the process should be conducted based on the terms of reference included in the project document. In the context of developmental evaluations, determining the readjustment process may entail making requisite attempt to identify and respond to some of the tensions that may likely undermine the implementation process. Some of the main tensions that may trigger the readjustment process include: ownership tension, control/complexity tension, inclusion tension, the long-term/short-term tension, and standardization vs. contextualization tension (USAID, 2019). On the other hand, these processes are not the same for every project. Wu et al. (2019) explained that core differences in the terms of reference may contribute to the lack of similarities in these processes. Moreover, the centrality of evaluation as a continuous, real-time process is reinforced by the use of different data collection methods, activities and approaches on an as-needed basis. Edwards et al. (2019) mentioned that these processes are adaptive and emergent and hence, vary from one project to another. Considering the importance of evaluation in the implementation process, evaluators assume an integral role in facilitating evidence-based, real-time decision-making and reflection to ensure successful implementation of the project document.
Edwards, P., Vaz-Serra, P., & Edwards, M. (2019).Project risk analysis and evaluation. Managing Project Risks, 161-182. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119489719.ch8
USAID, (2019).Implementing Developmental Evaluation: A Practical Guide for Evaluators and Administrators. https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/15396/ImplementingDE_Admin_20.pdf
Wu, H., Shen, J., Jones, J., Gao, X., Zheng, Y., & Krenn, H. Y. (2019). Using logic model and visualization to conduct portfolio evaluation. Evaluation and Program Planning, 74, 69-75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2019.02.011