I'm thinking about lessons learned: Evaluate & Learn Phase

iStock_000007832203XSmall.jpgPreparing, designing and implementing a project involves a learning process. In each project you face new challenges. Although learning may seem self-evident, this is not always the case. You can enhance your ability to learn how to do things better, and you can also learn why the things you do work or fail to work.

Key Instructions: 

Take time to reflect on your project and discuss with your colleagues on major lessons so far. Do this regularly during the project (for example, at important milestones). Take time to reflect after the project ends - before you start planning the next one!

1. Make sure you have all available evaluation results at hand.

2. Use our Tool: Mid-project self-evaluation to brainstorm with your colleagues during your project.

3. Check out our Tool: End-of-project reflection questions  for a final brainstorming session.

4. Use this information for continual improvement.

iStock_000009455024XSmall.jpgAs your project develops, you might want to check its progress with your target group and stakeholders. Getting regular feedback will bring you the following benefits:

Key Instructions: 

1. Decide on the best way to get feedback, including both dedicated feedback sessions and other events where you can get feedback.

2. Select key stakeholders to get the feedback from (Use Tool: Active collection of feedback to help you select key stakeholders).

3. Consider making use of unsolicited feedback (comments that you recieve through personal contacts, checking the local media, forums on your website, or throught hearsay).

4. Structure the feedback you have received (Use Tool: Active collection of feedback).

5. Decide on what should be changed in your project in the light of the received feedback.

picture_evaluate_and_improve.jpgTypically evaluations are conducted at the end of a project. However, to gain the most from the process of evaluation, and more importantly to make changes that keep your project on course, it is useful to plan a number of regular periodic evaluations. They will help you see what is working and what is not, and help you improve your project while it is ongoing.

Key Instructions: 

1. Make sure you have established milestones for periodic evaluations (See Knowledge Quick Bite: Why do you need milestones?).

2. Start by revisiting you success indicators and criteria that you have developed at the begining of the project (See Step 6: Define goals and manage external demands for more info).

3. Reflect on what success criteria have been met and what is still to be achieved (Use the Tool: Reflective table for evaluating and improving to organize your evaluation).

4. Decide on what should be improved or changed in your project to achieve the goals and meet the rest of your success criteria. 

Further Reading: 

Further resources on project evaluation

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