We specialize in monitoring and evaluating programs and projects.
- design programs or projects with measurable results
- develop and launch systems for monitoring a project’s or program’s implementation processes and results
- conduct an in-depth analysis of a program’s implementation and results
- draw lessons from program experience and develop recommendations for improvement
- train specialists in monitoring and evaluation
- build monitoring and evaluation into your organization’s activities
We specialize in monitoring and evaluating programs and projects.Our organization was established in 1992. We initially focused on organization development consulting and training. By the mid-90s we were involved in monitoring and evaluation and in the late-90s decided to specialize in this area. By that time we had successfully implemented several dozen consulting projects with clients ranging from banks and industrial enterprises to foundations and non-governmental organizations. Our organization development experience helps us better understand programs and projects, identify problem areas, develop practical recommendations, and provide effective assistance during implementation. Our experience designing and conducting hundreds of interactive training courses for various clients helps make our trainings both information rich and entertaining. The high quality of our monitoring and evaluation trainings is recognized internationally.
Our team includes two senior consultants based in Moscow and a network of partners based in the other cities and countries who work with us on projects as needed.
ALEXEY KUZMIN has worked as an organization development and evaluation consultant since 1987 and is an experienced trainer and moderator. He holds Master’s Degrees in engineering and psychology and successfully completed the organization development curriculum at the UAW-GM Training Center in Detroit, Michigan. In 2005, Alexey received a Ph.D. in organizational behavior with an emphasis on program evaluation. He has been a member of the American Evaluation Association since 1999 and the International Program Evaluation Network (Russia and Newly Independent States) in 2000-2014. Alexey was one of the founders (2014) and the first president (2014-2015) of the Russian Association of Specialists in Program and Policy Evaluation. Alexey has lead over 100 evaluations in more than 20 countries.
VLADIMIR BALAKIREV has worked as an organization development and evaluation consultant since 1991 and is an experienced trainer and moderator. He holds Master’s Degrees in special education and psychology and formerly worked for the Moscow City Government. He has developed and implemented dozens of customer-focused interactive training courses. Vladimir is a specialist in corporate ethics and has managed the design and implementation of corporate ethics codes in several major Russian businesses. He has lead several dozen program evaluations and now specializes in program evaluation. Vladimir has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Program Evaluation Network (Russia and Newly Independent States) in 2000-2014. Vladimir is a member of the Russian Association of Specialists in Program and Policy Evaluation (RASPPE) since 2014. He is the president of RASPPE in 2019-2020.
- Program Evaluation
Program evaluation is the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programs. Programs are evaluated in order to (a) make evidence-based judgments about the program, (b) improve program effectiveness, and/or (c) inform decisions about future programming (Patton, 1997). Because usefulness to our client is our first criterion of quality, we maximize the usefulness of evaluations by always beginning with the question, «Who is going to use the evaluation findings and how will they use them?» Collaboration with program staff and managers is a key principle of our approach. The evaluation is planned so that our clients have a say in every stage: They set the objectives, discuss the findings, and help develop the recommendations. We balance this collaborative approach with independence and thoughtful adherence to professional standards.
- Incorporation of Monitoring and Evaluation in Your Organization’s Activities
To incorporate monitoring and evaluation in your organization’s activities we help you develop and implement Monitoring and Evaluation:
- Policy—ground rules, framework, and principles for distributing the M&E function throughout your organization
- Guiding Principles—included in the policy or developed as a separate document. Some organizations even implement monitoring and evaluation standards
- Procedures—aligned with the new policy and principles
- Job Descriptions—for personnel in subdivisions that include M&E functions
- Manual—detailed practical recommendations, instruments, and case studies
- Glossary of Terms—definitions of core terms for internal use to compensate for the lack of common terminology in this field
- Monitoring System Design
One of every manager’s goals is timely supervision of the process of program implementation—the ongoing activity called monitoring. Useful program monitoring requires a management system. While the system’s complexity depends on the complexity of the activity to be monitored, the outcome of any monitoring system is accurate and timely information on how well program activities are proceeding and whether there are any digressions from the intended plan. If a monitoring system is working well, it helps a manager appropriately guide the project by making timely decisions and adjustments. We help to design program and project monitoring systems. Together with program managers and staff (a) we work out the system, (b) prepare all necessary papers, (c) train people who will carry out the monitoring, (d) participate in the system implementation, and (e) improve it if needed. Creating a monitoring system includes identifying indicators of program or project implementation. We pay special attention to a convenient format for presenting program implementation information to decision makers.
- Self-Evaluation Facilitation
While it is always informative to carry out an analysis of program outcomes and lessons learned, it is not always necessary or possible to use external evaluators. In consequence, we offer assistance in program self-evaluation in which our specialists help clients plan and organize their own internal evaluations. Our experience shows that professionally facilitated self-evaluation helps an organization quickly achieve better results.
In one- to two-hour formats, our specialists introduce you to the main principles of program evaluation, illustrating their presentation with examples of best practices in Russia and the NIS.
«Introduction to Program Evaluation»
This two- to three-day training gives a basic idea of all stages of evaluation and self-evaluation: purpose identification, planning, information gathering, information analysis, report writing, and preparation for the final discussion of findings. Each stage is accompanied by practical tasks based on real situations. Three-day seminars include more practical exercises.
«Program Monitoring and Evaluation. Basic Course»
This five-day seminar allows participants to engage in evaluation. The seminar’s program is designed to develop a detailed understanding of all stages of evaluation and to practically develop the most frequently used tools. We pay special attention to professional evaluation standards.
«Program Monitoring and Evaluation. Advanced Course»
This program is designed for those who decide to seriously engage in program evaluation. The training includes (a) a five-day “Basic Course”, (b) a 1.5–2 month evaluation exercise (a real project with distance consultations), and (c) a five-day final seminar, when we analyze the work done and provide additional training in the skills that proved insufficient for independent work.
«Monitoring and Evaluation for Donors»
This two- to three-day seminar is designed for managers and staff of organizations that fund projects and programs. In addition to the basic principles and techniques of evaluation and self-evaluation, training participants review possibilities of involving grantees in monitoring and evaluation carried out by donors. One of the central challenges the seminar addresses is how to improve a donor organization’s policies and procedures with the help of monitoring and evaluation. We offer participants practical examples and exercises that demonstrate the use of monitoring and evaluation in organizational development.
- Evaluation Supervision
It is common knowledge that no matter how effective the training, certain skills and knowledge remain that cannot be transferred without working together. We offer our clients the option of carrying out their own project evaluations under our specialist’s supervision. Our experience has practically demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach for organizations that wish to prepare their own evaluators and to conduct training in this field. The duration of this kind of work depends on the scale of the project to be evaluated, with one compulsory requirement: All evaluation team members must attend our course «Introduction to Program Evaluation» or a similar training by another organization.