BetterEvaluation Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptive Management Working Paper Series

This working paper series explores how monitoring and evaluation can support good adaptive management of programs. While focused especially on international development, this series is relevant to wider areas of public good activity, especially in a time of global pandemic, uncertainty and an increasing need for adaptive management.

What is adaptive management?

To some extent, all management needs to be adaptive – meaning that implementation does not simply involve enacting plans but also modifying them in response to changes in circumstances or understanding. This is not the focus of the papers in this series.

This series is focused on the implications of an ‘adaptive management’ which goes beyond usual levels of adaptation to be more of a paradigm shift in response to uncertainty and complexity.

Adaptive management is different to usual ‘good management’, which uses information to inform decisions and take actions. Adaptive management involves deliberately taking actions in order to learn and adapt as needed under conditions of ongoing uncertainty.

Working papers

1 - An overview of monitoring and evaluation for adaptive management

Authors: Patricia Rogers and Alice Macfarlan (BetterEvaluation)

This paper provides a brief overview of what is needed for adaptive management to work, and how monitoring and evaluation can support adaptive management. It includes discussion questions to help you think about what adaptive management means in your context. Read more


2 - What is adaptive management and how does it work?

What is adaptive management and how does it work? (Working Paper 2)

Authors: Patricia Rogers and Alice Macfarlan (BetterEvaluation)

The second paper in this series explores the history, various definitions and forms of adaptive management, including Doing Development Differently (DDD), Thinking Working Politically (TWP), Problem-Driven Iterative Adaption (PDIA), and Collaboration, Learning and Adaption (CLA). It also explores what is needed for adaptive management to work. Read more

4 - Real-time evaluation

Authors: Patricia Rogers

Real-time evaluation (RTE) has been practised and documented over the past 20 years, initially in humanitarian projects. There is now increasing interest in learning from this experience to inform evaluations in other areas, especially in development. This paper outlines the different ways in which RTE has been defined and is understood to work. It analyses how RTE is similar to and different from other approaches to supporting evidence-informed action. It discusses when it is appropriate to use RTE and what is needed to make it work well. Read more.