Monitoring and evaluation
In juxtaposing M&E definitions, it is evident that they have distinct, yet complementary, functions and roles to play in the life cycle of project delivery. Monitoring
Overview of project monitoring 19 gives information on progress of work at any given time (and over time) relative to the planned or desired targets and outcomes, which is descriptive in intent (Kusek & Rist, 2004). Evaluation, on the other hand, gives evidence of the extent to which targets and outcomes are being achieved and it mainly seeks to address issues of causality. Kusek and Rist (2004) further explained that evaluation is a complement to monitoring in that when a monitoring system sends signals that the efforts are going off track (for example, if progress towards the target is lagging and that project duration will not be achieved), then good evaluative information can help address the major issues causing the delays.
In project management studies, several types of research refer to monitoring and control rather than M&E (PM1, 2013). However, it considers the similar description of their roles and functions in project management as a process of tracking, reviewing and regulating progress to achieve performance objectives (Kamau & Mohamed, 2015). M&E are also being seen in an economic sense as a study of human behavior in the process of using resources to attain developmental goals.
The combined effort of both M&E seeks to guarantee efficiency and effective utilization of resources and processes in the project life cycle towards the achievement of successful project delivery. M&E have also been viewed in two main perspectives, that is, the classical/traditional view and the modern view (Tache, 2011). Tache (2011) further describes the traditional (classical) view to acknowledge a distinctive nature of the two management functions, whereas the modern view of M&E is a closely intimate management function. Further, the classical view of M&E limits monitoring to the collection of information on input and output with evaluation taking place once or twice during the implementation of the project. Monitoring and evaluation also focused on assessing the efficiency of projects and focused mostly on project objectives and budget (Tache, 2011). Nonetheless, the classical or traditional approach did not afford stakeholders and project managers the opportunity to appreciate the underlying reasons for the success or failure of the project and this is the major strength of the modern approach to monitoring and evaluation (Kusek & Rist, 2004).
On the other hand, the modern view of M&E acknowledges M&E as an integrated management function (Tache, 2011). This means that the monitoring function will not be complete in measuring performance until the monitored information has been evaluated to establish the extent of success or failure during project implementation. Also, the modern view of M&E considers a broader view of the practice and the approach to M&E is closely related. M&E are seen to focus on all components of the project such as activities, budget, results, risk and objectives (Tache, 2011). Mwangu and Iravo (2015) recognizes the distinct functions of M&E while admitting that their relationship cannot be overemphasized.
Scholars like Cameron (1993) indicate two reasons why M&E are regarded as two distinct functions. These he informs as the failure of M&E to come up with useful and cost-effective information regarding decision making due to the lack of trust in collecting accurate data and failure to process and analyze the same. Secondly, M&E were concerned with responding to planning failures rather
20 Performance management and measurement
Table 2.2 Complementary roles of M&E
• Clarifies programme objectives • Analyzes why intended results were or
were not achieved
• Links activities and their resources to • Assesses specific casual contributions of
objectives activities to results
them to the problems accomplishments or programme
potentials and offers recommendations for improvement
Source: Kusek & Rist (2004)
than the conventional managerial ineffectiveness and inefficient implementation (Cameron, 1993). Hence, M&E is part of a similar process which is being implemented through all the phases in the project life cycle and covers all the knowledge areas recognized in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) published by the Project Management Institute (PMI, 2013). M&E functions have both distinct and complementary roles in project implementation. Kusek and Rist (2004) outline some major complementary roles of monitoring and evaluation in Table 2.2.
M&E as having been acknowledged in this study is undertaken throughout the entire life cycle of the project. Various forms of M&E can, therefore, be identified based on the time and focus of assessment (Kusek & Rist, 2004). Whereas monitoring tends to focus on what is happening continuously, evaluations, on the other hand, are conducted at a specific time to assess how successful the project is (progress against programme) and what difference or impact the project has made (Otieno, 2000). Monitoring data is typically used by managers for ongoing project implementation, tracking outputs, budgets and compliance with procedures. Evaluations may also inform implementation (e.g. a mid-term evaluation), but they are less frequent and examine more significant changes (outcomes) that require more methodological rigour in analysis such as the impact and relevance of an intervention (IFRC, 2011). In furtherance of the stated differences that exist between M&E as discussed, Table 2.3 presents a summary of the differences between M&E. The identified difference between M&E is based on some important questions to explain the significant differences between the two management functions.