The Importance of Monitoring, Evaluation and Admitting Failure

During our discussion with Wayan Vota on Thursday he mentioned an article titled “10 Worst Practice in Education” in the webpage ICTworks. This article details 10 common practices that are detrimental to ICT projects when working with education as explained by Michael Trucano.

Personally, I found number 5, the lack of monitoring and evaluation in projects, the most obvious and was shocked to find out that many projects do not try to measure their impact in an accurate manner. As Mr. Trucano explain:

“This should be self-evident…If we don’t evaluate potential answers to this question, rigorously and credibly, all we are left with is well-intentioned guesswork and marketing dross.”


Seeing this practice listed reminded me of a TED talk which although originally meant for NGOs definitely applies to any type of organization trying to implement an ICT project. In his talk “What Happens When an NGO Admits Failure” David Damberger talks about his experience working for Engineers Without Borders and how their projects became exponentially more effective after they started posting an annual monitoring and evaluation report of their failed projects called the “Failure Report”.

Demberger argues that only by publicly admitting the flaws in projects, and “embracing” them as he states, can they be overcome and creates an example for other organizations to follow preventing them from committing the same mistakes. This is especially true to ICT projects, which seem to fail often for the same mistakes as previous projects. Perhaps if more organizations were willing to publicly admit their failures future ICT projects would be better implemented and resources would be better employed.


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