Performance management and evaluation-what's the difference? With an increasing emphasis on measurement and impact, service providers and their funders are pushing for increasingly sophisticated evaluation approaches such as experimental and quasi-experimental designs. However, experimental methods are rarely appropriate, feasible, or cost-effective for the majority of organizations and service providers. In contrast, performance management-the ongoing process of collecting and analyzing information to monitor program or organizational performance-is something that every organization could, and should, do on a regular basis.
In this Ignite session at the American Evaluation Association's annual conference in Washington, D.C., Isaac Castillo (DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative) and Ann Emery (Innovation Network) introduced the key differences between internal performance management processes and formal external evaluations. These terms are often confused and conflated because both approaches utilize many of the same techniques. However, their philosophies, timing, and purposes vary. This session clarified when and for whom each approach is most appropriate.