I just downloaded the latest resource from EVPA and Social Value International, released 12 September 2017. It's called Impact Management Principles, and it's a short, highline look at how non-government organisations (or what they call social purpose organisations) can incorporate impact management / measurement into their information collection processes.
Link to website
Link to resource
We're still getting used to the idea of measuring outcomes in human services organisations here in Australia, but the time when it becomes mandatory for many service types is fast-approaching. It can seem overwhelming - you need to plan, maintain, analyse, report. What I like about this resource is that it breaks down impact management into manageable parts, and they've presented the information in a very easy-to-read format - great for beginners!
Don't forget I have organisational review packages running until the end of November - book me now to start 2018 fresh and clear about where your organisation is at with regards to meeting quality standards. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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I might be a bit late to the party, but today I received my usual update from Stephanie Evergreen - data visualisation expert - which mentioned her Evergreen Data Academy. It took me about 15 seconds after clicking on the link to the Academy site to decide to sign up. Now, why would a quality manager want to pay to learn about data visualisation? Let me explain..
1. It should be very clear by now that how we "do" human services in Australia is changing very, very rapidly. We are no longer just 'delivering' services, nor do we just have to 'comply' to continue our funding. We are very much moving towards outcomes and competitive models. We need to be able to demonstrate what we are achieving. Organisations that can do that well will have a market edge.
2. How Quality Managers operate within human services organisations must change along with how are organisations will be run. We can't sit on the sidelines issuing reports detailing what people are doing wrong.
We must be able to proactively gather data about how services are running, and be able to display that data in a way that engages the management team to take action. We must also be able to engage clients and potential clients with that data - therefore, it needs to be accessible and appropriate to our audience.
3. A Quality Management professional should never sit still. We need to be the leaders in our organisations; the people others look to for advice; the people that others consult and collaborate with. This requires us to maintain, update, and expand our skills. I have no doubt that data and how it is used and presented is a very important part of the future of Quality Management. I am, therefore, so excited to be part of the Evergreen Data Academy, and I can't wait to start learning!
Best of all, increasing my skills means I can help your organisation more. Contact me if you'd like to talk about your data at email@example.com.
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The not-for-profit (or for-purpose) sector and its stakeholders (especially government) have been flirting with outcomes measurement for a long time. Sometimes it’s felt like a game of cat and mouse, or ‘will they, won’t they’. The sector’s interest and commitment to outcomes measurement within its organisations has wavered in line with what it’s perceived as ‘likelihood of threat’. This, actually, is not a great way to live, or operate, or manage.
So, can we, the sector, say now is the time? Because now IS the time! It really is! Performance measurement, measuring social outcomes, social impact, social bonds – all this stuff – it’s been around now for a REALLY LONG TIME. And as a sector, we STILL haven’t fully embraced it? Sometimes I find that so hard to believe, because it really would not be too hard for each and every organisation to measure ONE THING.
If I seem overly passionate about this, I am! I truly believe we need to measure in order to know that our services are making the difference we want them to make. We are constantly saying that ‘the system is broken’, or we lack funding, or we need new ways of getting funding – so let’s measure. Let’s show the difference we’re making. Or if we’re not making the difference we want, measuring gives us the opportunity to improve. There is no downside.
So I just wanted to share three of articles / resources that might fire up your interest, if you’re new to outcomes or measuring.
From Social Ventures Australia:
Managing to Outcomes: What, Why and How?
Finding the golden thread: A new approach to articulating program logic
From the Centre for Social Impact:
The Compass: Your Guide to Social Impact Measurement
If you have any more, please let me know in the comments!
Book review: Presenting Data Effectively: Communicating Your Findings for Maximum Impact by Stephanie D.H. Evergreen
It would be wrong of me not to declare from the outset that this review is a bit biased, but…I’m totally biased. I have been reading Stephanie Evergreen’s blog since I found out about her last year at an evaluation conference and I think her writing style is terrific and her blog is an accessible and relatable
resource. In short, I think she is tops, and so I was very eager to get my hands on this book.
You know those people that describe themselves as “I’m a visual person”? Well, I’m not one of those. I like words, and lists. I now love doing flowcharts, but data visualisation is much more than that. I think that knowledge of the presentation of data is so important to the future of the quality profession. As quality managers / internal auditors, our job is to communicate. I would hazard a guess that most of us are still using text, or, at best, a couple of graphs here and there. This book encourages us to step it up a notch—but there is also a section on graphs that is very useful, should we need to stick with those.
Within the first eight pages of this book, I thought to myself, “I can do that presentation I’m working on much better”, and immediately applied what I’d already learned to my pretty-boring PowerPoint. That is how practical this book is. As you’d expect, the book is presented and organised really well. It is set out as a course, and invites readers to engage, play and give new things a go. It is also full of useful additional resources.
Being so detailed (I really loved the how-to of using images in PowerPoint), this book is very useful for beginners—and also for those of us who consider ourselves to be intermediate Office users. I learned some tricks about image placement in Word that I know I will use repeatedly.
Plus, I never knew I was so interested in fonts. But fonts are interesting! Reading this book made me want to change every heading in every report I’ve ever written. In a good way.
There are some challenges in this book for us old-school report-writers. Evergreen's ideas around bullet points seem almost revolutionary and dangerous—honestly, I don’t know if I could do what she suggests, but this book intends to push us beyond our boundaries…and it works in that respect, as Evergreen’s writing is intellectually persuasive, although (obviously) nothing beats her pictorial examples. A look at her 2011 Annual Report is inspiring—so simple, yet so effective in delivering its message. It left me wondering…could I write an audit report that way? This book made me think about the possibilities.
This book has managed to change my thinking, but, much more than that, has given me the practical tools and tips for how I can actually go about doing things differently. In that respect, it is excellent value-for-money and well worth the time investment.
Thanks for reading,
Book Review: Actionable Evaluation Basics – Getting succinct answers to the most important questions (minibook) by E. Jane Davidson
“Evaluation is about delivering clear, well-reasoned answers to the most important questions.”
I had the pleasure of attending a conference last year where E. Jane Davidson presented and she was a stand-out—she was clear, articulate, funny, and, most importantly, I learned something from her.
Since then I’ve been eager to get my hands on more of her work and I thought what better introduction
than to read her minibook. Plus, I am a firm believer that, no matter how much you think you know, reviewing the basics is never a waste of time.
This minibook is inexpensive but packs a lot of punch. Davidson’s Six Key Elements of Actionable Evaluation simplifies the usually perceived huge task of evaluation into manageable bites that made me feel like evaluation is something that is achievable, even if you just start small, and even if you don’t have lots of
letters after your name.
I found most useful the section on evaluative questions, as Davidson really gets to the crux of evaluation (and does so passionately and with authority). If you’re a novice, I’m sure you’d also find the section on
evaluation reports very useful–Davidson gives practical advice that can be used in many contexts (for example, for internal audit reports).
Davidson includes links to some useful resources and further reading as well—because I bought this as an e-book, it was great to click and go, so I’d recommend buying it in this format if you’re interested in easily pursuing further reading.
If you’d like to know more about E. Jane Davidson, or get a copy of this minibook, here’s a link to her website, Real Evaluation.
Thanks for reading,
I am a firm believer that in order to “do” really great quality management, you must at least have a basic understanding of working with data–specifically how to read it so you can so something with it.
I got onto this book (via Stacey Barr, Performance Measurement Specialist and creator of PuMP, a performance measurement methodology) because I really wanted to learn how to better understand my data–what’s normal and when should I act? What exactly is an XmR chart and how on earth do I read
I’m happy to say this book delivers on answering these questions, and does so in a simple and easily understandable way, for the most part. Some of the book gets a bit technical and I couldn’t really relate to the examples (being from a service industry), but don’t let that stop you from reading this book if you’re
interested in and want to do more with your data (like motivate people to action). I also loved Wheeler’s examples of how businesses can do data badly–you’ll cringe, but you’ll never make those mistakes again!
It is hard for me to believe that this book was published in 1993 because it is still so relevant. Added bonus – you can buy in fairly cheaply online (have a look at the stores that sell second hand).
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite lines from the book (I took notes to remind myself of what not to do!):
“No matter what the data, no matter how the values are arranged and presented, one must always use some method of analysis to come up with an interpretation of the data.”
Why I love this line is because I think that interpretation is a forgotten step when looking at data. As Quality Managers, when we look at data and information, we need to be asking "Why?" (getting to the root cause, if you like). And if we don't get good answers, we need to not be afraid to seek them out!
Thanks for reading,
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