It is still too often the case that evaluators write recommendations and then leave them in a report that sits idling away on a server somewhere (let’s get real: no-one prints our reports anymore so the proverbial dust-ridden shelf is a digital myth). It is still too often the case that organisations write management responses (for the donor’s sake mostly) about how they are going to use the recommendations, without determining how this will be done.
There is a way around this neat little dead-end.
For a while now I’ve been using the final validation workshop not only to test out the findings with the client, but to also discuss the recommendations and agree an action plan with the client on how it will implement the recommendations.
Here’s how it works:
- Sense-check the findings of the evaluation, making sure that everyone agrees or at least accepts what you’ve found (especially the more challenging stuff)
- Ask the group what recommendations they would make based on the findings if they were the evaluator (there will be some give and take on this and some groups will be better than others, and you better have some draft recommendations ready to go if the group doesn’t come up with any – which is already a recommendation about capacity building the team)
- Agree a short list of recommendations that are applicable to the organisation / programme / strategy
- Turn it into a RACI (or similar) action plan with clear accountability attached
You’ll need at least half the workshop time for this process. But that the end you will see a clear buy-in from the group to the recommendations and what they could mean for the organisation.
There is nothing like a bit of group work and participation to engage a team and get the recommendations off the page and into the organisation.
Why don’t you try it, and let me know how you get on!