2.5. Preparing to operationalize

The previous sections covered the steps for preparing a results map and the specific results framework that would be included in a UNDP-supported programme or project document. To realize the results envisaged in the framework, it has to be communicated, implemented, monitored and evaluated. In the absence of effective monitoring and evaluation, it will not be possible for UNDP, its stakeholders and partners to know whether the intended results are being achieved or if they should take corrective action to support the delivery of the intended results. Monitoring and evaluation are essential for effective programme and project implementation and to support UNDP accountability and learning. Chapter 3 covers the important steps in planning to monitor and evaluate. This section briefly examines arrangements for operationalizing the results framework. 

At the end of the planning process, the stakeholders should devote time to strategizing how the framework will be implemented and how the goals and objectives will be reinforced. A results framework that is operationalized is:

  • Broadly communicated to all stakeholders
  • Regularly and formally reviewed and updated
  • Clear on who is responsible and accountable for what components
  • Used for decision-making
  • Consistent with the incentives systems in the organization
Communication and Partnership Building

In the last planning meeting, stakeholders should reflect on what methods will be used to communicate the major objectives contained in the framework. The purpose is to increase awareness of the programme and generate support for it.

Either an individual or a sub-team should be tasked with developing the communication plan. For large programmes it could be useful to engage a communications firm to provide support. Box 16 and 17 include ideas for communication plans and an example of how one organization is executing its plan.

Box 16. Suggestions for communications plans
  • In some situations, flyers and publicity material, such as the MDG flyers and videos, are created to capture the main objectives and targets in simple terms. These are then circulated to stakeholders.
  • In other cases, there is an ongoing communication programme (radio, newspapers, etc.) on the main goals and targets. These are used to keep the plan and its objectives constantly in the minds of stakeholders, maintaining commitment and ensuring clarity on the common goals.
  • In some private and public sector offices, open spaces and notice boards are used to present the main objectives of the plan, while meeting rooms often have whiteboards, flipcharts and other tools capturing the main goals and targets.
  • In many organizations, meetings are held with slides showing the targets and progress against them.

It is frequently helpful to discuss in the last planning meeting how to build partnerships and teams to carry the work forward. For example, within development agencies (government, international and other) there is a tendency for staff to see programmatic work as the purview of the programme team. Operations staff sometimes do not feel ownership of the plan and are only involved in processing administrative transactions. This can rob the team of the broader energies, ideas and support it may need to move forward efficiently. Spending time to brainstorm creative ways of engaging both internal and external partners can therefore be quite useful. 

Box 17. Sharing the vision

In one large U.S. hospital, every notice board carries key elements of the values, mission and objectives of the hospital. Additionally, different units have large boards displaying the performance indicators relevant to the unit and achievements of the unit in relation to those indicators. The hospital has consistently received some of the highest scores in client satisfaction and boasts some of the lowest error rates in patient treatment. It proudly displays its numerous awards and citations beside its mission statement and performance indicators.


Accountability and incentives

Stakeholders should similarly reflect on who will be accountable for what elements of the framework and what types of incentives or sanctions could be used to encourage behaviour consistent with the framework.

Accountability

Often once the results framework or map is developed, the group moves on to discuss who will be responsible for coordinating the development of the various programmes and interventions. In some cases this may be an organization (United Nations or other), or an individual within an office.

  • Stakeholders should review the results map or framework to identify areas where concrete actions will be needed to get things going. Individuals or agencies should be designated to lead on those actions.
  • These agreements should be documented and used to form part of a simple implementation plan.
  • The plan would also address issues such as approvals or policy decisions needed and the strategy for obtaining these.
  • A smaller group can be asked to examine in greater detail elements of the results framework that may require focused action by specific stakeholders.
  • Chapter 3 will address setting up the arrangements for monitoring and evaluation.
Incentives and sanctions

Stakeholders should brainstorm possible incentive arrangements and sanctions (if appropriate) that could promote implementation of the framework. Again, it may be possible to ask one or more persons to review the framework and come up with suggestions for the group. However at the initial stage, it may be worthwhile hearing a range of ideas from the group. These ideas should then be documented as part of the implementation plan.