3.5.4. Best Practices to Develop Integrated Performance Monitoring Systems

In developing a performance monitoring system, value chain projects can follow a set of widely validated best practices, including those listed below.

  • Training. Everybody involved in the implementation of the performance monitoring system should receive training in its design and operation by a qualified "technical expert." Training is particularly important when implementing partners are responsible for collecting and reporting performance data. Training should include, at a minimum, the following.
    • Work through causal model to highlight the underlying causal logic of the program and identify the critical links in the causal chain.
    • Review each indicator to be collected, its purpose, its meaning, and methods and timeline for collection and reporting.
    • Review complementary quantitative and qualitative data collection activities, their purpose, and methods, and the timeline for collection and reporting.
    • Review data analysis plans and protocols and ensure that the proper capacity exists.
    • Review reporting formats and methods.
    • Describe and agree on expectations and responsibilities for all relevant parties, including implementing partners.
  • Verify Resources and Technical Capacity. Verify that the necessary resources and technical capacity exist at the project and implementing partners to implement each task in the performance monitoring system. If the necessary resources and/or technical capacity do not exist, either scale back or provide appropriate training.
  • Participation. Involve staff members and implementing partners responsible for data collection and reporting in the performance monitoring design process including the selection of key performance indicators. Keep senior management "in the loop," and ensure that it is aware and approves of the actions taken to develop and implement the performance monitoring system.
  • Oversight and Monitoring. Establish a system of oversight and monitoring in each important phase of the performance monitoring system, including data collection, data management, data analysis, and reporting. The validity of the system depends critically on the validity of the data, data analysis, and conclusions it generates. Monitoring of implementing partners responsible for collecting and reporting performance data is particularly critical to ensure data quality.
  • Pilot Test. Pilot test all aspects of the performance monitoring system before full roll-out. Many design features that look good on paper perform less well in the field.