How to Gauge what Information needs to be Collected

Before you start collecting data, do you ever ask what you are going to use it for? The basic chart that I use and modify according to the circumstances is the monitoring plan from the Outcome Mapping: Building Learning and Reflection into Development Programs book.

We have been discussing the overload of information and data for many years. I see a lot of discussions about the use of data but seldom do I see an outline on how to determine what you should and should not be collecting.  In the OBM book they make an insightful comment,

The best way to select monitoring priorities is to think about the uses for the information. Determining in advance how the information will be used allows one to avoid gathering data that, although interesting, has no particular function. To help identify priorities, the group should consider how the monitoring data collected will be used.

Viewing the use of the data is by far the most important gauge on whether the information needs to be collected.  After determining use, we can then prioritize and assign people/teams on how the data will be used. If we use a simple set of guidelines, the monitoring plan can become part of the team’s standard work.

Monitoring Plan

When you are empowering people, this information is imperative in setting direction. Author Gary Klein in, The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work, gives an outline on what is required when giving direction. He uses the acronym STICC which is Situation, Task, Intent, Concerns and Calibration.

Going through and setting up a Monitoring Plan is essential for the work to get carried out. It removes much of the ambiguity in the monitoring process. It allows for the proper selection of tools when you have the exact awareness of how deep you need to go in analyzing and whether you have the staff to carry out what is needed. Any thoughts?

Reference on Monitoring Plan: Outcome Mapping: Building Learning and Reflection into Development Programs

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