Programme definition and monitoring

Programme definition and monitoring

Development projects: where to begin with the programme?


A programme of works arises from a set of overarching objectives and aims. The overall strategy will dictate what projects are undertaken within the programme and how, as well as what outcomes will constitute success.

The key in programme definition begins with a strategic vision and set of objectives.

As part of the overall strategy, a second key element is defining a framework for monitoring programme progress and success
(UNFPA, 2004).

“Programme planning is not simply project planning on a larger scale, it involves planning the overall coordination of project delivery, quality, risk, communications and benefits whilst reconciling project objectives with overall project goals” (Office of Government Commerce (OGC) UK 2010)

Programme definition

The definition of the programme will relate to the identified goals and objectives. Although the terminology may vary by organisation or framework use, generally programme definition will involve (OGC UK 2010):

  • Programme vision
  • Outcome statement of programme or “blueprint”
  • List of projects and activities required within the programme to achieve the vision
  • Business case – at programme level this sums up the business cases at project level
  • Organisation and structure
  • Profile of benefits – description of each benefit that the programme will deliver
  • Stakeholder schedule or map – containing a list of stakeholders and their interest in the programme

Define the programme, define and measure success

Programme monitoring and measuring


“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” (Peter Drucker). Measuring outcomes and processes is necessary to:

  • Ensure adherence to brief and compliance to regulations and standards
  • Monitor risks, variations and finances
  • Plan and forecast, and
  • Demonstrate value to stakeholders and financiers in a transparent manner

Measurement includes

  • Indentifying and setting targets
  • Identifying metrics (what will be measured as indicators) e.g key performance indicators (KPI’s) and critical success factors (CSF’s)
  • Tools for measuring and recording
  • Testing measurement framework/tools to ensure robustness
  • Balanced measurement e.g. Can you interpret measurement of overall spend without understanding progress towards completion?

And then?
…Keep measuring, identifying corrective actions and improvements throughout the programme cycle (World Bank, 2010).

Case Study: monitoring and evaluation of local projects in the Philippines

(Kaplan, 2007)
  • 133 proposed local infrastructure projects involving over 1,000 municipalities
  • $60M dollars in funding to be distributed and managed

How did the Local Government oversee?
  • Integrated approach to monitoring and evaluation which provided both project level and consolidated programme detail
  • Separate units were established for evaluating relevant aspects of each project (e.g. financial, management, engineering, social etc.)
  • Each unit submitted regular reports following inspections
  • Findings were consolidated into spreadsheet database to track each project’s progress and achievement of overall objectives

References/further reading

  1. UNFPA (2004) Programme Manager’s Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit
  2. Overview to Managing Successful Programmes, Office of Government and Commerce
  3. World Bank Knowledge Learning and Outreach Committee (2010) Financial Management in Action, 2010 Fiduciary Form
  4. Harvard Manage Mentor: Performance Measurement, Robert S. Kaplan, Harvard Business Publishing (v1.0.1120, 2007)
  5. UNDP (2009) Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating For Development Results