Monitoring: systematically and routinely checking the progress and quality of a project over time, ensuring it is meeting set goals and objectives.
Monitoring is necessary to assess whether the objectives of a project are being completed over its duration and whether anticipated outcomes are being achieved. It helps to determine whether resources are being well used, whether all activities are being carried out to time by the right people and whether the target population is engaging with the project as anticipated. It will allow you to see if certain aspects of the project aren’t progressing as planned, allowing changes to be made at early stages and potentially saving delays towards project completion. The more uncertainty surrounding an aspect of a project, the more closely it should be monitored. It is important to provide feedback on monitoring outcomes to project implementers, stakeholders and funders.
Monitoring requires a protocol (which can take time to develop) and staff resource to perform (which can be limited). Outcomes should be triangulated to relevant stakeholders for assessment and timely feedback, which may be difficult to coordinate. If changes are made to the projects strategy, stakeholders must be informed and have an opportunity to provide feedback. Selecting specific indicators to monitor may be challenging. Using self-reported data for monitoring may cause a biased perspective of project progress to be recorded and it is therefore important to use quantifiable, numerically-based indicators. Quantifiable data is generally simpler to collect and faster to analyse.