Monday, August 23, 2010

Consulting: Evaluating Your Own Consulting Practice

So you are an evaluation consultant. You evaluate programs/projects as part of an evaluation consultancy you own or co-own. But how often do you evaluate your own business?

Where to start?
Think logic model. Do you have a business plan (in writing/on paper) that somewhere describes your goals/objectives, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impact? If not, create one - it could be really mind-blowing.

Next? Develop an evaluation plan linked to your logic model. Identify the evidence/data that you will need to collect to formatively and summatively assess whether you are meeting your outcomes and outputs. For example, if your goal is to write a winning RFP proposal, one activity may be "Respond to Evaluation RFPs". Your output may be "Complete 4 RFPs" and your outcome may be "Improve your proposal quality". What data do you need to collect to assess whether this is happening or has happened? I can think of peer feedback, feedback from reviewers, comparison of your proposal to the wining proposal (if not yours), etc.

Third? Collect data - whatever you identified - and lots of it - related to costs/profits, proposal outcomes, media exposure, name recognition, etc.

Review the data. What data triangulate? Which data are most reliable / valid? What can you conclude? Where do you need to make improvements? How will you improve - Coursework? Self-teaching? Mentoring? Better marketing?

Last? Repeat - at least annually.

Click here to link to an article on creating effective dashboards - develop one for your own company that tracks critical indicators of success to gain practice and then identify ways to incorporate dashboards into the work you provide clients.

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