Launching a client’s strategy into the stratosphere
THE GROSVENOR DIFFERENCE
Rather than only working within the parameters that existed, the Grosvenor team examined those parameters to evaluate whether they were the most effective for the purposes they were intended.
The Grosvenor team concluded:
> that a standardised workshop process would be inadequate, so they revised it
> that a single project logic would be inadequate, so they delivered a nested logic.
In order to avoid any ‘blackholes’, the Grosvenor team pursued efficacy as well as efficiency when creating the M&E Framework, and it’s this that elevated the quality of the resulting document.
This rigour is characteristic of Grosvenor’s approach, says Sorcha McGee, and a distinguishing factor from competitors. ‘We do the thinking and we do it to a high standard. We do not provide the same thinking for each new project – we do not use a cookie cutter approach. We also interrogate our thinking as we progress,’ Sorcha explains. ‘We’re constantly questioning what is most valuable for the client. A lot of program evaluation firms are quite purist and academic. We commit to the same quality of academic rigour but we’re also constantly trying to figure out what is practical. We want to know if a measure that’s proposed will actually give the client the data and outcome they need, in a way that is practical and achievable.’
In a recent project for a niche sector, a team from our Grosvenor Public Sector Advisory worked with the industry development team on the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for their strategy. ‘Among other things, they are tasked with ascertaining what were the niche industry needs, both now and in the future. This involves things like identifying and matching skill sets and research projects with industry needs and reducing barriers to testing emerging technologies’ says Sorcha McGee, Grosvenor, Senior Manager. The industry development team had already devised a strategy for how they would perform this function, but needed to make sure they could evaluate its efficacy in practice. To this end, they enlisted the Grosvenor team to develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (M&E Framework) for their strategy.
‘An M&E Framework is a plan for how you’re going to assess your program over time,’ says Sorcha. ‘When an M&E Framework is developed, the team decides upon measures for assessing performance, reporting, decision-making and data-gathering.’ Usually, the M&E Framework is developed for a particular program (which is generally defined and discrete) but for this project, it was developed for an existing strategy (that had multiple programs within spanning across many NSW government agencies).
Other challenges particular to this project were:
The niche industry
The high number of stakeholders involved
The complexity of the M&E Framework required
The scale of the changes the team were seeking to enact
The high number of variables. Outcomes could be impacted by many different factors and causation wasn’t always clear, so assigning clear attributions and contributions was like taking one giant leap for mankind.
- Establish and manage project
- Develop program understanding
- Develop program logic
- Workshop framework content
- Draft M&E Framework.
‘We always start a project like this by clarifying and confirming what it is our client wants,’ says Sorcha. ‘This sounds simple but it needs to be very clear for everyone. Once we had established things like parameters, deliverables and risks, we conducted a document review to see what documentation already existed pertaining to this project, and a literature review to see if there were relevant documents from the same industry in other jurisdictions, or in industries that are similar in some way. This information gave us context and data to inform our actions. Following this, we developed a draft program logic.’
Initially, Sorcha and the Grosvenor team began to draft the program logic based on the five key themes of the strategy that the industry development team had provided to them. As the strategy had been organised this way, it made sense for the M&E Framework to align with it, but the Grosvenor team soon realised that it wouldn’t hit the mark.
‘The job we’d been contracted to do was to develop an overarching program logic for the strategy, but if we composed this logic according to the themes of the strategy, we wouldn’t be able to extract the depth and breadth of information the team needed,’ Sorcha explains.
So, rather than just a single program logic that captured only the big picture, Sorcha and the Grosvenor team also re-organised the program logic and added additional initiative-level program logics within the M&E Framework. ‘This is what’s called a nested program logic,’ Sorcha says. ‘It allows the industry development team to assess the performance of particular initiatives within the overall strategy, and provides the granular data they need to do this thoroughly, while still seeing how the initiatives fit in the bigger picture.’
For the same reason, the Grosvenor team decided to hold a series of smaller workshops rather than fewer, larger ones. This allowed them to get the right people in the room and drill into the pertinent details of the various initiatives so relevant information wasn’t overlooked.
The industry development team were over the moon with the M&E Framework developed by the Grosvenor team, saying that, ‘Our Director is delighted with this document, our new ED is thrilled with it – it’s being paraded around already as a prime example of what every team should be aiming for. Thank you for your great work!’ As organisations moves towards an outcomes-based budgeting model, this sort of M&E Framework sets the standard for the quality of data that will be required’ says Sorcha. ‘I’m confident that we gave the industry development team excellent value for money as well as an excellent product that is perfectly fit for purpose and will serve them well into the future.’
At Grosvenor, we pride ourselves on offering clients tailored services to address your specific requirements, rather than taking a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to your project.
This means that you, our clients, can expect us to:
- Continually refine objectives
- Seek clarity and consensus
- Avoid shortcuts and templates
- Adapt, be responsive and flexible
- Apply intellectual rigour at all levels
- Devise effective, practical and practicable measures to achieve outcomes.
Contact us for a free discussion on how we can launch your M&E Framework out of this world!