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Role and Responsibilities of an M&E Project Manager

by Kirsten Bording Collins, Independent Evaluation Consultant

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) professionals can have many different titles and can have quite a diversity of responsibilities depending on the context and organizations where they work. Common titles seen in government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations include: M&E Officer; M&E Specialist; and M&E Manager. These titles are often used interchangeably. M&E professionals work at agency headquarters or central offices providing technical assistance and strategic oversight, or in the field collecting and managing data. Regardless of their place of work, M&E professionals play an important role in project management and often help build capacity in performance and impact measurement within their organizations.

Common Responsibilities in Monitoring and Evaluation Careers:

Planning

Developing strong M&E systems require a great deal of planning. The M&E professional plays a key role in facilitating the input of project staff, partners and other stakeholders in project design and measurement activities. Responsibilities include:

  • Providing expertise in M&E planning and methodology
  • Participating in and providing support to project design activities including development of project theories of change and strategic frameworks (Results Frameworks, Log Frames)
  • Developing a Monitoring and Evaluation plan
    • Helping determine performance and impact indicators and targets
  • Providing support to proposal development for M&E components

Day-to-Day Monitoring and Evaluation Activities

The M&E professional plays an essential role in tracking and updating M&E data as well as ensuring the data is of the best quality possible. Responsibilities include:

  • Implementing monitoring systems and designing monitoring tools
  • Developing data collection tools
  • Monitoring project activities, outputs and progress towards anticipated results
  • Working with data platforms, databases and select technologies to capture and organize data
  • Training field staff in monitoring and evaluation processes and providing ongoing coaching
  • Conducting or providing support to data quality assessments

Analysis and Reporting

Once the M&E system has been implemented and data collection processes established, the M&E professional proceeds with the analysis and reporting of data. Responsibilities include:

  • Determining data analysis procedures and use of quantitative or qualitative analysis tools
  • Cleaning, sorting, categorizing and organizing data
  • Analyzing quantitative and/or qualitative data
  • Summarizing findings
  • Developing monthly, quarterly or annual reports depending on project requirements
  • Disseminating evaluation findings and project results to donors and other stakeholders

Evaluations or Special Studies

The M&E professional will often be involved in special studies or evaluations which may be conducted by the M&E professional and project staff in the case of an internal evaluation or with the assistance of external evaluation consultants in the case of final or impact evaluations depending on donor requirements and resources. Responsibilities of the M&E professional include:

  • Conducting program analysis or special studies
  • Supporting or leading evaluation teams
  • Managing external evaluation consultants and draft scopes of work

Knowledge Management

M&E professionals often provide much support to knowledge management processes within their organizations. Responsibilities can include:

  • Contributing to institutional learning processes
  • Convening communities of practice and other organizational learning practices
  • Tracking best practices in monitoring and evaluation

Resources

There is a wealth of resources available for M&E professionals. The following links are only a small sample of the many resources available for M&E professionals to find out what is happening in their profession; to find monitoring and evaluation careers and other opportunities; and to connect with other M&E professionals.

American Evaluation Association–for resources, jobs, annual conference information

Devex–for M&E jobs in international development

International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS)–for resources and opportunities related to international development evaluation

Monitoring and Evaluation News (MandE)–a news service about monitoring and evaluation methods and other happenings in the M&E field.

About the Author

Kirsten Bording Collins is an experienced evaluation specialist providing consulting services in program evaluation, planning and project management. She has over ten years of combined experience in the nonprofit, NGO and public sectors working both in the U.S. and internationally. Kirsten's areas of expertise include: program evaluation, planning, project management, evaluation training and capacity-building, mixed-methods, qualitative analysis, and survey design. Kirsten holds a MA in International Administration from the Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Kirsten grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark and currently lives in Washington, DC.

Connect with Kirsten on LinkedIn.

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