Oversight with TVM
The basic cycle of management
The basic cycle of management has the following steps or variants that are very similar.
- Collect data
- Organize … mobilize resources
- Implement … with operational reporting
- Analysis and review
- Oversight, feedback and accountability
TVM oversight based on exception reporting
Most operations work very well. Oversight consists of little more than a cursory glance at an exception report that shows that the activities are going according to plan. No oversight time is needed to do anything … except maybe to celebrate their success and give credit to those that are making it happen.
Exception reporting will show from time to time that activities are not working well. The question then is to find out what is going wrong and why!
The structure of TVM data might be sufficient to locate the problem … but it may not be enough. TVM data allows for drill-down to a level of detail where specific information might show problem issues.
TVM data may be the catalyst for oversight action … it is part of what good performance data should do. But TVM does not include any specific methodology for interaction between an oversight authority and the user of resources. These arrangements are made in the “getting organized” stage of TVM implementation.
TVM is keeping score
TVM is simply about keeping score … and compiling stats. TVM is part of the scorekeeping staff … not the coach … not the referee … not the general manager … not the owner … not a player … and not a fan. The role of TVM is simple … to keep score and to compile stats!
Oversight has the most meaning when it takes place in a timely way … in hours or days … not months or years later. Oversight helps to ensure that implementation is done in a good manner.
Oversight includes accountability
Accountability is a close relation of oversight … but more something that is of interest to the public and the owners of resources.
Management of performance is best done where and when it matters. Implementation performance matters most at the community … and it is therefore in the community that there should be the most interest in accountability. Accountability is an important incentive for good decision making and an important aspect of implementation performance. It is important for the community to know what decisions makers are doing and how effective the goals are being accomplished.
Feedback, Oversight and Accountability
A system with no feedback is a waste of time
Feedback for the community is important to facilitate continuous improvement and better performance. Everyone engaged in the work of the community should get feedback to help find better ways of doing things. Control theory teaches that rapid measurement and feedback to improve performance is very valuable … enabling good things to be replicated and bad things to be eliminated. A process with continuous timely feedback is very powerful.
Implement … with operational reporting
This is process … that includes measurement
Implementation determines everything. It is implementation that determines effectiveness. Good data and good planning help … but it is the way implementation is actually done that determines whether or not there is success and the maximum of benefit realized. A good plan may be ruined by bad implementation … but a bad plan may be saved by good implementation.
Management and supervision are key to good implementation … and good data helps all of those who have to make decisions to make better decisions. The difference between management and administration needs to be well understood in order to get effective implementation.
The strength of this community focus plan is that implementation is in a community and for a community … with deep involvement of the people of the community. The activities use as much available know-how as is possible … but linkages to other sector activities is strong so that no one activity is constrained by the progress of any other sector.
Measure, Analyze and Report
Good data facilitates good implementation
Good data facilitates good implementation … providing early warning of problems that need attention. TVM metrics are timely … compared to the typical monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process to acquire data is too little too late, and costly without having great value. Timely metrics enable rapid corrective action and better performance.
M&E almost worthless!
The typical monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process to acquire data and do analysis is always “too little too late”, and is costly without having great value. M&E would not be needed if there was good management accounting driving the operation … rather than almost no accounting, and then the “cover up” of M&E study and analysis!
Analysis is important. Possibilities take on realism during implementation. A community that has difficulty with the concepts of progress in a verbal or intellectual form should become engaged and have good understanding with implementation. For this reason it is good to design implementation as a journey of many steps rather than one huge leap!
The community planning framework aims to integrate all the sectors into a coherent whole. The community is like a living organism that needs all its components to survive and be healthy. Every single sector activity needs the service and support of other sectors in order to be successful. A missing sector capacity is a serious constraint.
Reporting also important. The way reporting is done has changed substantially over the years … but the reasons for reporting remains the same. Stakeholders should be able to see information that shows how well an organization is performing … and the impact activities are having on the community. When paper reporting was all that was available, a paper report was prepared that included financial statements … but as alternative forms of access to data and to analysis become possible, they may be used to supplement or replace paper reporting. Good data and analysis should be nothing more than “a click away”.