PE CoE Week: Wanda Casillas and Heather Evanson on Lessons and Opportunities when Consulting in Federal Evaluation

We are Wanda Casillas and Heather Evanson, and we are part of Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Program Evaluation Center of Excellence (PE CoE). Many of our team members and colleagues are privileged to work with a variety of federal agencies on program evaluation and performance measurement and, throughout this week, will share some of their lessons learned and ideas about potential opportunities to help federal agencies expand the value of evaluations.

This week members of our team will share lessons learned about working remotely on federal evaluations, the use of qualitative methods in federal programs that don’t always appreciate the value of mixed methods, the potential for federal programs to be more “selfish” in program planning, the value of conducting evaluation and performance measurement for federal programs, and making the most out of data commonly collected in federal programs. In the coming weeks, readers will find an additional article on scaling up federal evaluations.

Lesson Learned: Many federal clients use performance measurement, monitoring, evaluation, assessment, and other similar terms interchangeably; however, evaluators and clients don’t always have the same definitions, and therefore expectations, in mind for what these terms mean. It’s important to learn as much as possible about your federal client’s experiences and history with evaluation through research and conversations with relevant stakeholders in order to make sure you can deliver on a given agency’s needs.

Lesson Learned: Clients sometimes see evaluation or performance measurement as a requirement rather than an opportunity to understand how to improve upon or expand an existing program. As evaluation consultants, we sometimes have to work with clients to help them understand how evaluation can benefit them even after responding to a request for proposals.

Rad Resource: Alfred Ho provides some intriguing insights on the effects of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, which has resulted in many of the performance measurement and evaluation activity we see today in GPRA after a Decade: Lessons from the Government Performance and Results Act and Related Federal Reforms.

The American Evaluation Association is Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Program Evaluation Center of Excellence (PE CoE) week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from PE CoE team members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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