How do I evaluate our programs? I want to be sure they are in line with our mission and are having the impact we want them to have.
Developing a habit of reflection is critical to ongoing evaluation. Asking three simple questions at the beginning, middle and end of a project builds the habit:
- What do you appreciate about this project?
- What do you regret about what is happening?
- What do you hope to be different?
With this habit in place, the more difficult questions that clarify the mission of the organization and map the alignment of services to that mission are easier. The most challenging evaluation is a reflection on impact. It takes time to understand impact, but a focus on such results leads to valuable learning that informs the next generation of experiments.