Evaluation project testimonial

I’m all about evaluation that makes a difference, that has an impact and people will act on, so I was delighted to receive this testimonial from Laura Turnage (Programme Manager, Secondary Schools) at the Museum of London who I delivered an evaluation project for:

“It was a delight working with Christina. She successfully navigated and evaluated a complicated schools project which included the participation and feedback from more than ten project partners. Importantly for us her tenacity in contacting the school made sure they responded and their feedback was included in the final report! Her facilitation of the partner reflection workshop was transformative. It continues to be spoken about for its effectiveness in identifying the sticking points within the project and creating collaborative solutions.”

I undertook the evaluation of a school study day which was a collaborative project run by members of the Culture Mile Learning partnership (including the Museum of London) over several years. The work included facilitating a staff reflection workshop, student and teacher evaluation forms and partner interviews.

I’ve written a blog on running internal reflection workshops, something that I love doing, especially when the results are deemed “transformative”!

Tips on running staff reflection workshops

One of my pet bug-bears is project evaluation for the sake of it, as a tickbox exercise.

Done well, there’s so much value that can be mined at the end of projects. And yet I see some organisations just evaluating on the basis of funders’ requirements, with no thought to how they can genuinely learn from the experience in a practical way going forward.

Rather than just focussing on ‘what we’ve done’, I champion an approach that identifies lessons learned and implications for future projects. I want to ensure that good practice is recognised and embedded in organisations, and we avoid duplicating mistakes.

Benefits of a staff reflection workshop:

A staff reflection workshop can be a really useful way of capturing transferable lessons. Done well it can:

  • Be a safe space and valued opportunity for participants to have their voices heard
  • Help to deepen understanding, collaborative working and relationships amongst the participants
  • Enable team members to bounce ideas off each other
  • Uncover a wealth of insights and ideas
  • Be the basis for a best practice guide for future projects
  • Give participants a sense of buy-in and ownership of the best practice guidance
  • Be a method to help team members reach consensus
  • Act as a type of closure on a project for participants
  • Be fun and engaging!

But a session needs careful preparation and facilitation so that it remains constructive and productive and doesn’t degenerate into a whinge-fest, go off tangent for a long period of time or is dominated by a minority.

I have organised and facilitated reflection workshops for a range of different organisations, where participants have comprised members of different internal departments, teams and different organisations.

Here are my top tips for running a constructive team reflection session:

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