Step 1: Preparing to Evaluate

The Power of Measuring Results

"If you do not measure results, you cannot tell success from failure.
If you cannot see success, you cannot reward it.
If you cannot reward success, you are probably rewarding failure.
If you cannot see success, you cannot learn from it.
If you cannot recognize failure, you cannot correct it.
If you can demonstrate results, you can win public support."

Osborne & Gaebler 1992
American management consultants

Task 1: Identify the Need for Evaluation

Before designing and implementing a performance evaluation process, it’s important to determine who wants the results that an evaluation can provide. What is driving the need for evaluation—is it required by legislation, is it a requirement for funding, do high-level executives and administrators want the information upon which to base future decisions? Is there a champion in the executive or legislative branches of government who wants to use evaluation information? Who will benefit from evaluation—administrators, legislators, auditors, and the public, non-governmental organizations? Who will not benefit from evaluation?

Video: Deerin Babb-Brott on why monitoring and evaluation is needed

  • Stakeholders should participate in evaluation as well as planning
  • Stakeholders can be the “glue” that holds MSP together over time

Task 2: Identify Who Should Be on the Performance Evaluation Team

An early step is to form the Performance Evaluation Team. The overall manager of the MSP process or a senior professional evaluator should lead the team. In addition, the team could consist of:

  • Members of the MSP professional staff, including both natural and social scientists;
  • Representatives of agencies responsible for MSP;
  • A measurement expert, either from one of the agencies responsible for MSP, or an outside contractor (preferably familiar with the MSP process; and,
  • An information-processing expert.

The team should be no larger than 10-12 members. Team members should commit to the process for about one to two years, working both frequently and regularly. You should be flexible about adding members and expertise to the team, as needed.

Video: Stephanie Moura on how stakeholders can be involved

  • Government decisions affect the public
  • So the public should participate in decision making
  • Make it easy for stakeholders to participate
  • Provide both formal and informal opportunities for stakeholders to participate

Task 3: Develop a Performance Evaluation Plan

Once you have assembled your team, begin an initial planning or scoping phase to clarify the nature and scope of the performance evaluation process. During this task, the main purpose of the evaluation, the stakeholders to be consulted, and the time frame for the results should be established.

This is an exploratory period. Key issues are identified from the perspective of management partners and other stakeholders, a review of existing documentation, and related management actions that may influence the program. The assumptions underlying the evaluation should be identified.

At the end of the initial scoping, there should be enough knowledge of the context for the evaluation that a general approach may be decided. The heart of the evaluation planning is the evaluation design phase, which culminates in the evaluation plan.

It is generally a good practice to present and discuss the overall design with the management partners and other key stakeholders before completing the evaluation plan. There should be no surprises, and it should build buy-in and support of the evaluation. An advisory group and peer reviewers can be good sounding boards to ensure the quality of the plan.

Video: Leo DeVrees on importance of informal interactions with stakeholders in the Netherlands

  • Respect stakeholders
  • Listen to what they want in a marine plan
  • Informal settings provide opportunity for open conversation
  • Help stakeholders communicate to their constituencies

Task 4: Engage Stakeholders

“When choosing outcomes, do not travel the road alone.”
Jody Kusek and Ray Rist 2004

All stages of marine spatial planning should involve stakeholders actively. Broad-based involvement of stakeholders will enhance not only the ownership of and accountability for results, but also the credibility and transparency of performance evaluation.

Stakeholders should be consulted and take part in decision-making at every critical step of the process. Stakeholders should be consulted and engaged, when appropriate, in developing the monitoring and evaluation plans, drafting the terms of reference for the evaluation, appraising the selection of evaluators, providing the evaluators with information and guidance, reviewing the evaluation draft, preparing and implementing the management response, and disseminating and internalizing knowledge generated from the evaluation.

Video: Charles Ehler on importance of involving stakeholders in MSP

  • Stakeholders are important at all stages of MSP, including evaluation
  • Stakeholders can help determine how effective management actions have been
  • Involving stakeholders increases the likelihood of success of a marine spatial plan in the long run

Go back to The Idea of Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans or continue reading Step 2: Identifying Measurable Objectives

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