Evaluating Development Cooperation/Evaluation Types/In Itinere Evaluations
In itinere evaluations
Evaluation types with respect to the programme cycle management phase
If the project duration is longer than one year, it is useful for the project manager to conduct an in-itinere evaluation (often called formative evaluation or monitoring review) of the project along with the team and also with clients/beneficiaries. This evaluation exercise constitutes a moment of reflection with the team and with the beneficiaries around project efficiency and effectiveness- whether you have achieved expected results, whether the activities have been cost efficient, whether the team had sufficient capacity to implement the project- and helps you to take corrective measures, if required.
In a similar manner, programme managers can conduct in-itinere evaluations of programmes. Ex-post evaluations of projects for instance could also be a moment to conduct an in-itinere evaluation for programmes of which the projects are a part. This is conducted during the execution phase of the programme cycle management.
If you are a programme manager, you can also utilise the learning from in-itinere or ex-post evaluations of projects in order to make changes to your programme or feed it into new programmes. Such an evaluatioon exercise can also become an ex-ante evaluation for new programmes.
Such an in-itinere evaluation can also be conducted for a programme of programmes. In development aid organisations, such an in-itinere evaluation of the programme of programmes is also called a country learning review.
Usually, in-itinere evaluations are an integral part of project execution. In fact project execution and project control (i.e. itinere evaluation) tend to be identified as a single unbreakable managerial activity.
The project in-itinere evaluation is usually conducted, at the end of each project year, by a team comprising the project manager, programme manager, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, others responsible for supporting programme quality (like the programme development coordinator, programme quality advisor, technical experts) and field staff/partner. After the monitoring information is reviewed along with implementing teams, it is good practice to share the information with target beneficiaries through focus groups discussions. During this evaluation, the programme team analyses information collected by monitoring activities, discusses the logic model of the programme, identifies what worked well and what didn’t, what changes occurred, shares team learning and decides together on corrective measures to be taken.
In-itinere evaluations are mainly used for managing the current project/programmes revising scope and schedules on the basis of the results provisionally achieved and the quality provisionally obtained so as to put the programme in track with the expected objectives and results.
If you are a programme manager, you will integrate the learning, emerging from these evaluations and from baseline surveys, into the annual Country Learning Review. Partners and people we work with are invited to take part in order to analyse lessons learned and make joint decisions about the future direction and delivery of programmes. While Monitoring reviews are done at a project level and then at a programme level, Country Learning Reviews are conducted at programme level.
Attention: do not confuse project monitoring with project evaluation. Project monitoring is identical with project appraisal and belongs to the project execution and control phase of project management. It is a review of the project status and its progress against expected milestones, timelines and costs. Its purpose is to acquire the information required to manage Manage CSSQ (Cost, Scope, Schedule, and Quality) so as to ensure that the project outputs are delivered with the expected quality in the time and cost limits defined in the project plan document. (see also the project triangle). It mainly deals with the efficiency of project performance. Project monitoring is done by the project manager or by somebody who is supporting her/him. The formal output of project appraisal is the Project Status report (see project execution templates). Project evaluation is not a part of project execution but is a different phase of the programme cycle. Project evaluation is not done by the project manager but by the project sponsor (e.g. the Programme Manager, etc.) or by someone supporting her/him. It requires Project Status reports as a fundamental input. Its outputs are projects Evaluation reports and program lessons learned.