Step 6: Monitoring Indicators of Management Performance

Before any decisions are made on the data collection strategies to deploy, it is important to check with the users and stakeholders. Try to determine their level of comfort with the tradeoffs and with the sorts of performance information they will be receiving. Data collection strategies necessarily involve some tradeoffs with respect to cost, precision, credibility, and timeliness. For example, the more structured and formal methods for collecting data generally tend to be more precise, costly, and time consuming. It may be preferable to adopt less precise, more unstructured, and inexpensive data collection strategies if data are needed frequently and on a routine basis to inform management decision-making.

Being Effective and Not Just “Busy”

Performance evaluation focuses on the achievement of outcomes and looks for progress toward outcomes through indicators. An activity-based management system focuses on working against a set of identified activities, without aligning these activities to outcomes, making it difficult to understand how the implementation of these activities results in improved performance. Be careful not to fall into the trap of equating being busy, with being effective.

Video: Eric Olsen on monitoring across sectors in Norway

  • Before MSP in the Barents Sea, monitoring was only done by individual sectors, e.g., fishing
  • MSP has enabled sector-based authorities to share knowledge and develop joint monitoring opportunities
  • Three groups oversee the MSP process:
    • A Management Forum reports to the government
    • A Monitoring Group reports on the state of the ecosystem
    • An Environmental Risk Analysis Group reports on new risk developments
  • Monitoring makes the marine plan a living document rather one that is forgotten and sits on a shelf

Video: Leo DeVrees on monitoring in the Netherlands

  • Ecosystem monitoring must include the growing array of human activities and pressures
  • In Europe, an objective is a “healthy marine ecosystem by 2020”
  • Trans-boundary cooperation can help lower the costs of monitoring in shared waters

Video: Steven Vanderborre on monitoring in Belgium

  • MSP monitoring in Belgium will be done in conjunction with other monitoring programs
  • This information will feed into the development of Belgium’s next spatial plan in 2020
  • The 2020 plan will build on the outcomes of the current plan

Video: Bruce Carlisle on Advice for MSP

  • Quantitative indicators are key, but don’t overlook qualitative indicators like stakeholder opinions that are invaluable
  • Be open to change and iteration
  • If management actions are not working, change or drop them—and look for alternatives


Go back to Step 5: Establishing a Baseline for Selected Indicators or continue reading Step 7: Evaluating Results of Performance Monitoring

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