Key Actions by:

Standard 11: Evidence based, action-oriented project management.

Make collaborative, timely, and informed decisions to ensure that project activities deliver intended impact to participants within the approved time, scope, and budget.

Organize cross-disciplinary, evidence-based project review and planning meetings, in line with CRS MEAL policies and procedures.

  • Why

    Periodically reviewing, analyzing and conducting participatory interpretation of comprehensive project data, and making decisions based on this information, is essential to effective project management. Formal, cross-disciplinary project review and planning meetings complement and leverage other project management activities, such as regular meetings of the project programming team (see Standard 11, key action 1), budget comparison review meetings, and ongoing coordination around supply chain management. Bringing together project team members from CRS and partner organizations for formal quarterly and annual project review and planning meetings:

    • Provides an opportunity for the project team to take a step back from the day-to-day of project implementation and reflect on project progress, challenges, and opportunities.
    • Provides a structured forum for the project team to jointly review MEAL data and assess project progress toward the higher-level changes it aims to bring about, and to make course corrections as needed.
    • Facilitates identification and analysis of changes in the project operating context that may impact the project, including critical assumptions, risks and issues, and to plan appropriate project adaptations (both tactical and strategic) in light of this context.
    • Creates an opportunity for a range of project stakeholders to jointly identify actions that may be needed to keep the project in scope, on schedule, and on budget, and to improve project management effectiveness.
  • Who

    • Others involved: CRS and partner project team members (program and operations); sectoral technical advisors; country program senior management team (SMT) and partner senior management as needed; any other members of the project governance structure
      • CRS and partner project team members (program and operations staff), in collaboration with the PM/CoP, prepare and analyze other relevant information for the meeting and participate in review and interpretation of information and follow-up action planning during meetings. 
      • Members of the SMT and partner senior management often participate in annual review meetings (as well as quarterly meetings where appropriate) and contribute to decision-making.
      • Members of the project governance structure and other stakeholders participate in annual review meetings as appropriate.

  • Partnership
    • Partner participation in quarterly and annual project review and planning meetings is essential to ensuring the quality of these events (see MEAL Procedure 2.4MEAL Procedure 2.4: Reflect on a quarterly basis with partners on monitoring data and community feedback, to inform ongoing and adaptive decision-making and action planning ).
    • For projects with multiple partners, support partners as needed to organize partner-level reflections following the same content outline described under step 5 above. Organizing these partner-level meetings prior to the project-level review and planning meeting provides an opportunity to involve the full partner team in analysis of project progress, results, risks, issues, and resources related to their project responsibilities. The partner participants in the project-level review and planning meeting bring the outputs from these partner-level meetings for wider consideration and further analysis during the project-level meeting. 
    • The partner PM typically leads the partner-level meeting; CRS project or MEAL staff may support the partner in preparing for or conducting these reflection meetings as needed to ensure a quality and consistent process across organizations.
    • For guidance on partnership-focused annual reflections, see Standard 11, key action 5.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Follow the same process for the project components CRS manages.
    • The prime may also organize project-level review and planning meetings. CRS and partners should conduct their meetings if possible prior to the project-level meetings organized by the prime, so that CRS participants in the prime-led meeting can contribute inputs from the full CRS and partner project team.
  • Emergency projects