My name is Tricia Wind and I work in the evaluation section of the International Development Research Centre in Canada – an organization that funds research in Africa, Asia and Latin America. My section regularly does quality assessments of the evaluations that are commissioned by our program staff colleagues as well as by the organizations we fund.
We have seen how quality depends not just on the consultants who undertake evaluations, but also on the program managers who commission them. Commissioners decide the scope of an evaluation and its timing. They define questions and facilitate use. They approve evaluation budgets. Commissioning decisions are key to evaluation quality.
Seeing that most evaluation resources are targeted to evaluators, IDRC teamed up with BetterEvaluation to produce a new interactive, online guide to support program managers. It guides program managers in their roles and decision-making before, during and after an evaluation to ensure the evaluation is well designed, use-oriented and appropriately positioned within an organization.
The Program Manager’s Guide walks program managers through nine typical steps of commissioning and managing an evaluation. It provides high-level overviews of the steps, more detailed sub-steps and, and also links to further resources available on the rest of the rich BetterEvaluation website. It is available in English and French.
The GeneraTor: The guide is accompanied by a tool, called the GeneraToR, which prompts users to document the decisions they are making about an evaluation (its scope, uses, questions, timing, budget, evaluator qualifications, deliverables, governance, etc.) in an online form. The form becomes a customized terms of reference that can be downloaded to share with stakeholders. The terms of reference are foundational for other documents for the evaluation, such as requests for proposals (rfps), consulting contracts, workplans and stakeholder engagement plans.
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