For many of us, it’s budget season and time to decide how and where we will spend our money next year. Sadly, too many organizations (especially those that are strapped for resources) simply take last year’s budget and modify it by a percent or two. But there is no excuse for just letting it ride. If you want to achieve your mission you need to take the time to periodically review the effectiveness of your programs. Do your programs support your strategy? Does your Balanced Scorecard or strategy management system reveal the impact of the programs? Or are there corrective actions that are required?
How To Use Strategy Management To Evaluate Projects & Programs
1. Does your program align with the strategy? Take a look at your strategy map or a logic model. Ask yourself where the program has the most impact on the strategy. You would not expect the impact to be broad rather a few key areas where it propels the strategy forward. If you cannot find any areas of impact, you must discontinue the program
2. Is your program having impact? How you approach answering this question depends upon the nature of your organization. But you should take the time to figure out how the program is striving to help and its purpose. You may have to create surveys or take a hard look at the metrics you are using to evaluate that program. And so on. Try to gain some insight as to how your program is helping you perform against your key strategic measures.
3. Is the program managed well? No amount of good intent makes our efforts matter. We have to plan, measure, and manage if we are to achieve results. Go to your staff – they will tell you if you are managing your programs well. Do they know the purpose? Do they review performance results? Do they have a venue to identify corrective actions?
The single most important element to ensuring strategic alignment and expected impact is to conduct your program evaluation with the intention of learning. If you set out to expose and punish you will get nothing. If you seek to learn, you will do just that – learn how to make your strategy happen and make strategy management an ongoing discipline within your organization.