Tuesday, 25. January 2011 11:01
The jdcPartnerships team spent much of fall 2010 refining our client screening process and project management approach including the development of a range of tools to manage budget, scope and communications better as our team and portfolio expands. As we went through this process, several consulting opportunities presented themselves to which we could test the application of a more disciplined approach to our “go, no-go” process. As we sorted through the various options, it became clear to me that no matter how great the checklist (i.e., our competencies, skills, content area, budget, time frame ), there were some nuances that only come from practice and intuition that inform the final decision. However, sometimes you just don’t know until you are in it. Just like a date.
The questions below are a refinement of a handout developed for a 2009 session at The California Wellness Foundation sponsored Organizational Learning and Evaluation conference designed and managed by Center for Civic Partnerships . Those highlighted are the more delicate ones to determine in a proposal submission process but the answers to which can greatly affect, in our experience, the consulting engagement’s effectiveness and client/consultant relationship.
- What kind of evaluation consultant is the organization looking to engage?
- Why is the organization looking to engage an evaluation consultant? Moreover, what is the timeframe for doing the work?
- What has been organizational practice around evaluation?
- How strong is the program/initiative model? Can it be evaluated?
- Does it seem like the client is “ready” to ask difficult questions regarding design, strategy and impact?
- How will evaluation findings be used? By whom?
- Who is the client?
- What has been the organization’s experience with consultants?
- Do the organizational values and principles align with the consultants?
- Can you imagine having dinner with the client and not compensated to do so?
In sharing these, we hope that potential consumers of evaluation consultant services develop a better sense of what the other half is thinking about during the initial relationship exploration stage.
As for our fellow evaluation consultants, feel free to add, modify or respond to the list above.