Shared measurement dilemma? Try these simple tips.

Published on November 20, 2013 in Buzz, News, Workshops & Presentations

Did you make it out to our 2013 AEA presentation on shared measurement strategies?  We had a great group and our collective brains had a great discussion…so great that we can’t share everything that we talked about. But, here are a few key lessons we came up with to help you the next time you are considering a shared measurement strategy:

Working with multiple stakeholders can lead to a long list of items for measurement. To keep these in check:

  • Draw out all perspectives before prioritizing / narrowing scope;
  • Stick to the central / core elements of the theory of change (vs. the ‘nice to know’); and
  • Help stakeholders to understand implications of additions / changes (e.g., each item we add will mean up to 5 minutes per week extra for program staff!).

Multiple stakeholders means multiple interpretations of program objectives. To reach agreement:

  • Define all key concepts concretely, no matter how obvious they might seem;
  • Stick to the central / core elements of the concept when developing a working definition; and
  • Reassure stakeholders that the working definition for key objectives doesn’t need to be perfect for all purposes; just good enough for this purpose.

Logistics can get messy when working with a diverse group. To nip these in the bud:

  • Actively involve representatives from the organizations in the development of measures;
  • Pilot test full administration of data collection protocols; and
  • Allow time for the full process to unfold.

Stakeholders can lose enthusiasm over a long term evaluation. To keep the project fresh:

  • Build in opportunities to reconnect,  so that stakeholders feel supported and don’t forget about the evaluation;
  • Encourage champions to emerge and encourage others; and
  • Provide access to real time data so programs can benefit on an ongoing basis.