Evaluating Management and Business Plans
Too many strategic plans end up collecting dust on a shelf. Monitoring and evaluating the planning activities and status of
implementation of the plan is as important as identifying strategic issues and goals. One advantage of monitoring and evaluation is to
ensure that the organization is following the direction through management plans established during strategic planning.
The advantage of monitoring progress against the management plan is obvious. It also gives the organisation the opportunity to tweak
the plan and apply adaptive management if necessary. Plans are guidelines and not rules. It's OK to deviate from a plan, but planners
should understand the reason for the deviations and update the plan to reflect the new direction.
Adults tend to learn best when they're actually doing something with new information and materials and combining this with their
experiences. They also learn a great deal about their organization and how to manage it by continuing to monitor the implementation of
Although it is always necessary to have a senior manager responsible for driving the regular monitoring and evaluation process, it is
important to bring in an unbiased evaluator from time to time. The strategic plan document should specify who is responsible for
achieving each goal and objective, it must indicate the hierarchy of responsibility for the overall implementation of the plan.
Management style depends on leadership confidence in their own management ability. The more confident a leader is in his ability to
manage, the more confidence he will have in and the more he will delegate to lower ranks. He will also streamline the decision-making
process by cutting committee meetings and making himself and all lower ranks responsible for decisions.
The management plan should specify who is responsible to monitor the implementation of the plan and made decisions based on the
results. For example, the board might expect the chief executive to regularly report to the full board about the status of implementation,
including progress toward each of the overall strategic goals. In turn, the chief executive might expect regular status reports from middle
managers regarding the status toward their achieving the goals and objectives assigned to them, and ad infinitum to the lowest rank in
There are key questions asked while monitoring and evaluating a management plan, which include:
- Are goals and objectives being achieved or not?
- If they are, has this been acknowledged with due reward and the progress communicate.
- If the goals have not been achieved, will they be achieved according to the timelines specified in the plan? If not, then why?
- Should the deadlines for completion be changed?
- Do personnel have adequate resources to achieve the goals?
- Are the goals and objectives still realistic?
- Should priorities be changed to put more focus on achieving the goals?
- Should the goals be changed?
- What can be learned from the monitoring and evaluation process in order to improve future planning and monitoring?
The frequency of management plan reviews depends on the nature of the organization and the environment in which it's operating. All
organisations must change and progress to survive and management plan monitoring and evaluation is one of the most important
tools to drive change.
I use a quarterly review system for boards of directors to see status of implementation and strategic decision making to drive
management plan implementation and adjustment, and to guide executive directors on a monthly basis.
Reporting on results of monitoring and evaluation is in its self an important monitoring tool. The report must maintain a record of the way
in which the evaluation questions were dealt with. It is also an excellent tool to indicate through graphics the progress towards meeting
goals and objectives. The outcome of a review should include an action list of items that need attention and who is responsible for the
Management of natural systems and sustainable consumptive and non-consumptive use of natural resources require a dedicated
effort to understand the forces involved in determining population dynamics.
A strong understanding of ecosystems can allow the choice of indicator species whose performance reflects that of the larger system.
Since we commonly manage the environment to remain in an envisaged state and to sustain particular biological features, the direct
surveillance of those biological parameters is most likely to be the best way to establish whether management plans are working. The
more we comprehend the system, the more effective we are likely to be in choosing the best things to record.
The results of biological monitoring may not always be easy to interpret because of the gap between observing results and defining
the cause. As research discovers more information on species and systems, so the interpretation becomes more complex. A new
factor, that of climate change, has also brought challenges to monitoring techniques and results.
Monitoring can be a simple game count along repeatable routes a couple of times a year, a fixed point photographic site to monitor
vegetation change over time, to a complex and integrated monitoring system including game populations, management techniques
and efficiency, fire and alien vegetation management and the monitoring of indicator species.
A Note about Celebration
I've been involved with many strategic planning and monitoring activities. Rarely, when a plan is completed, or goals and objectives
achieved do organizations acknowledge the successes they have gained. Instead, planners are often so focused on "progress" and
problem solving, and they are eager to move on to the next perceived objective. As a result the team effort and individuals involved in
the success loose motivation and self-confidence. It is so important to take a break, recognise the successes and toast those
responsible in a professional and clear manner. Celebration is as important as accomplishing objectives and an element of the
closure phase of a project. It gives fulfilment of a job well done and recognises the capabilities and skills of the individuals within the
Monitoring & Assessment
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"My mission is to promote biodiversity conservation and
sustainable systems which will in turn ensure the
well-being of mankind."
Assessor & Workplace Development Facilitator THETA accredited.
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