Michael Quinn Patton, Kate McKegg and Nan Wehipeihana are the editors of an upcoming book on Developmental Evaluation (DE) Exemplars. Kate McKegg’s published a post about the book on AEA 365 A-Tip-a-Day (March 2, 2015) in which she talked about some of the “inappropriate conditions” for taking a developmental evaluation approach, I am looking forward to reading the book and was glad to see that this topic was discussed.
I appreciate the DE approach, but I think we hear more about its benefits than we hear about the realities of implementing it in our work or situations where it is not suitable to use it.
For one thing, efforts of evaluation units alone cannot make DE just happen. Taking on a DE approach requires that many people in the organization understand what DE is and what it is not, including the Board of Directors, Senior Management Teams and those who do the fundraising (in the case of funders).
Another challenge based on my experiences is that some organizations think that just because a project is taking on a DE approach it means that no planning is required. They say “ well it is all going to be emergent and we will figure it out as we go along”. But “being emergent” does not negate the need for having a clear plan. Yes plans can change based on learnings from the field, but they bring clarity to the work and are essential to any successful evaluation project.
You can see the post here: http://aea365.org/blog/developmental-eval-week-kate-mckegg-on-readiness-for-developmental-evaluation/).