A Balanced Approach to Monitoring and Evaluating Capacity and Performance

This study, authored by Paul Engel, Niels Keijzer and Tony Land for the European Centre for Development Policy Management focuses on how capacity develops endogenously within an organisation or system.


"The study has two purposes:

  1. To enhance understanding of the interrelationships amongst capacity, change and performance across a wide range of development experiences; and
  2. To provide general recommendations and tools to support the effectiveness of external interventions aimed at improving capacity and performance.

The information from the case studies provides an opportunity to enhance our understanding of various capacity-related aspects of development cooperation. One of these is the monitoring and evaluation of capacity and performance. A key finding of the case studies is that the practice of monitoring and evaluating (M&E) has failed to fully recognize the combination of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ characteristics that make up effective capacity.1 And while ‘balanced’ approaches that address both the hard and soft sides of performance have been developed in business, such approaches are as yet underused and, perhaps, undervalued among the development cooperation community. This paper proposes just such a balanced approach to assessing capacity, one that integrates both the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ sides of capacity and performance. It could form the basis for a comprehensive framework for monitoring and evaluating capacity and performance in multi-stakeholder settings." (Engel, Keijzer & Land, 2007)


  • How can a balanced approach to assessing capacity be used? 9
  • Monitoring capacity and performance: what really counts in stakeholders’ eyes? 10
  • A prototype assessment framework 13
  • A five-step model for assessing capacity and performance 14
  • Annex 1: Prototype assessment framework: a balanced approach to assessing capacity and performance 15
  • Annex 2: Plan of action for a comprehensive model for a balanced approach to capacity M&E 16

Specific Options Mentioned

  • Balanced Approach – p. 5-9, 11-12, Annex 1
  • Stakeholder Analysis – p. 14


 Engel, P., Keijzer, N., Land, T. 2007. A balanced approach to monitoring and evaluating capacity and performance: A proposal for a framework. (ECDPM Discussion Paper No. 58E). Maastricht: ECDPM. http://www.ecdpm.org/dp58E

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