Results Based Management Training:
Making RBM User-Friendly
There are three ways this user-based language has been applied successfully to Results-Based Management capacity development:
1. Introductory RBM training
- Basic concepts, and experience applying them to immediate work priorities and users' experience.
- Overcoming resistance to the use of Results-Based Management
- Providing practical tools for results-based planning and reporting.
2. On-site mentoring
3. Remote assistance, by email and online conferencing
- Working with staff as they develop results-based planning documents, reports or results-based monitoring and evaluation plans.
- Helping staff bring results to the forefront of their planning and reporting documents on a regular basis.
- Replying to short-term "emergency" requests for assistance in clarifying reporting documents, when field managers are under pressure to deliver results-based reports.
Results of RBM Training
At the end of the introductory training:
- Participants will understand how a theory of change applies to their project, and to their results.
- Participants will know how to use simple language to explain their results.
- Resistance to using RBM will be overcome, and in many cases participants will be enthusiastic about using the approach.
At the end of onsite mentoring:
professionals, whether they are at the field level, or at the highest
levels of policy making, will be able to begin using these simple Results-Based Management concepts
immediately, and will become more proficient with time.
- In-house RBM focal points will be able to sustain progress on using Results-Based Management.
With remote assistance:
- Plans or reports of immediate importance will clearly explain results and indicators.
- Plans and reports will continue to meet results based management standards in the long term.
10 Key Elements of Effective RBM
Focus of the Training
Using practical, jargon-free language in Results-Based Management training for field
staff, managers and partners, the introductory training focuses
initially on demonstrating how Results-Based Management can be useful to them as a workable tool for improving their own development effectiveness -- a tool that can be implemented with the language they and their colleagues already use.
The introductory RBM training covers 10 issues that have proven to be essential, in many different fields, to enabling the effective and sustained use of results-based management:
1. Motivation: How identifying results can simplify policy making, field work, monitoring and evaluations.
2. Four primary types of results, what we all work for every day in development programmes and practice.
3. Clear examples of what are not results
4. Examples of results from case studies of development projects, relevant to the work of participants
5. How results chains can be built, using straight-forward language, to test participants' own theories of change - of what works in development, and why it works.
6. Clear guidelines for planning individual activities in terms of results, and for reporting or evaluating results.
7. Using simple grids to plan for results, and to report results.
8. A practical guide for developing workable performance indicators for identifying and tracking results.
9. Understanding how our basic assumptions relate to risk
and results, and how we can build both into planning for results.
10. Understanding results-based scheduling.
This overview usually lasts between 6-10 hours, depending on the facility of the participants, in English. Interpretation takes time. [The training can also be provided in Thai.]
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RBM Training Materials
Learning materials and guides provided during and after the training, are all in simple, user-friendly language, suitable for translation into any language.
To date a number of different versions of these RBM guides and training materials have been developed, are being used and adapted to local and specific institutional needs, in Thai, Vietnamese, Khmer, Bahasa Indonesia, Swahili and Russian. Participants are free -- with citation -- to adapt, copy, translate and use the materials in any way that suits their needs.
Testing simplified RBM concepts against reality
the review of the ten basic elements of Results-Based Management is a necessary step in
establishing the context for the training, the most important and relevant
learning takes place as the participants test the ideas through
case-studies of their own work, applying the concepts to what is
immediately important to them, to design of needs assessment, rapid appraisals, to their strategic or annual work plans, their own project
reports, activity or project designs, or their evaluations.
For this reason:
- Participants are encouraged to bring current examples of their work
(project planning documents, or reports) to the workshop,
where they are analysed, applying the RBM concepts introduced earlier in the workshop.
optimum size for this discussion phase of the
training is 4-5 people. For this reason, if a group of 20, 30 or 50 people,
for example, is to be trained, the overview is covered in the
first 8-10 hours with the group as a whole, with smaller groups then formed for three hours each of case-study work with the trainer. For a group of 50, the training then would take approximately 6 days, although any individual
participant might require only a day or two of time for participation in the overview, and the more detailed case-study application.
- In some cases the training has been integrated
into an annual work planning process, with the trainer working on-site, after the initial orientation, as a mentor during the planning
- Off-site mentoring on results-based planning and reporting, and establishing working results-based monitoring and evaluation systems
using email, has also proven effective. Participating agencies are encouraged to
designate trainers who can participate throughout the process, working with Greg Armstrong, and who can then provide follow-up training to staff. The aim is to leave the partner
organization with its own in-house RBM mentoring capacity.
Overcoming resistance to Results-Based Management
The immediate objective of the initial training is to overcome resistance to the whole idea of Results-Based Management and its use. This is particularly important for those who have had a bad experience with RBM, or who might be intimidated by the apparent complexity of the terminology used by different agencies. This is often the case for smaller, domestic NGOs in partner countries, for example, with staff in rural schools, or development offices, but these dysfunctional experiences with Results-Based Management also occur frequently even in large government agencies.
Resistance to using RBM can be, and has been, overcome:
- When we can demonstrate to the participants that results-based management can actually be useful to them, perhaps even make their lives easier, rather than being just another layer of bureaucratic jargon with which they have to contend;
- When the training focuses on helping participants think through the issues logically, cutting through the jargon to clarify what happens, or fails to happen in their work -- and why;
- And when the training provides the participants with the opportunity to apply the simple results framework to their own work and then to communicate in simple terms with their partners and funders the real results they are achieving.
Target Groups for the initial training
The target groups for this initial training are any group of practitioners, professionals or managers involved in policy making, planning or implementation of development activities who are either not familiar with Results-Based Management, or who have been frustrated in their previous attempts to use it productively.
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