Institutional as well as ad hoc installation of various projects indispensably possesses a set of important conditions that must be observed by the performers of this project. This argument is equally applicable for the commercial-oriented business entities as well as for the human-oriented social projects. The major difference between these areas of application is that in the first case the standards have already been thoroughly elaborated by the specifically authorized institutions, whilst in the second case the norms of planning and evaluation are still at the dawn of their formation and development.
However, both the scholars and the practitioners have recognized the importance of the well-conducted program planning and program evaluation in the human-oriented service agencies. Moreover, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the leading global institutions who set as its primary objective the goal of protecting the destitute Afro-American citizens, has empirically made a set of inferential reports, indicating that careful planning and thorough program evaluation are the crucial aspects of the effective implementation of any human service-related project.
The aim of this paper is to analyze the relation between the project planning and program evaluation, and to provide specific examples on how the interrelation of these aspects contribute to the implementation of the human-oriented projects conducted by the respective organizations.
The Interrelation of the Program Planning and Program Evaluation Operations
Although, the stages are integrally connected and combined together, they constitute what is known the first and the ultimate stages of the program or project implementation. Unless these stages have been done by the performers of the project accordingly, the set of activities they exercise cannot be classified as a project, but rather a set of chaotic actions. One of the most important postulates of the organizational theory clearly indicates that the program planning is the first stage of the project implementation, whilst program evaluation is known to be the finalizing stage thereto. Although a set of stages (i.e. practical project realization etc.) is between these stages, when the analysis of the project successfulness is conducted solely when these stages are assessed to ascertain whether the project has been successfully implemented or not.
In order to find out whether the project has been performed successfully or not, the one exercising the analysis shall match the objectives set at the first stage of the project with the results that have been ultimately achieved. The convergent scholarly opinion is that the project can be considered successful if the objectives completely or partially match the outcomes achieved, the deadlines have not been violated by the project performance and the resources have not been overspent by the workforce and the managerial chain of a project or a program. The deadline and the resource allocation in their turn are determined at the stage of the project planning.
Overall, it can be assumed that both stages are integrally interconnected and interrelated. Moreover, they can be defined as mutually dependent. To be more exact, it is practically impossible to find out that the objectives of the designed project have been achieved or not if the evaluation stage of the project realization has not been exercised by the project performance. As far as practical recourse is concerned, the opinion of Benjamin Jealous, who currently occupies the position of president and Chief Executive Officer for the National Agency for Advancement of Colored People, is relevant. He asserts that before any initiative is launched within the framework of this organization, the program of a project is carefully and meticulously planned. Upon the realization of the project, the achieved results are assessed independently and the decision is delivered by the project board, whether the outcomes do match the goals of the project.
Similarities and Differences
Overall, the activity of the antidiscrimination agencies provides one of the most abundant areas for illustration of the program-related issues. National Organization for Human Services regularly issues numerous reports and publications illustrating the peculiarities and characteristics of these aspects.
Both aspects are the integral constituents of the program realization procedure. To illustrate, when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People established its Legal Defense Fund, it was carefully planned by the auditors and financial authorities of the organization what activities shall be financed, who will be targeted to obtain the help under the frames of the project and how the funds are to be ultimately utilized. Annually, the efficacy of the program is being evaluated and it is intently controlled by the specifically authorized agencies whether the use of the funds have been conducted properly. Moreover, both stages are institutional in their natures. To be more exact, various scholarly and non-scholarly domestic and international institutions elaborated a set of standards and principles which govern the procedures, and which in their turn are strongly advised not to be deviated from by the performers of the project.
As far as the differences of the stages are concerned it shall be accentuated that although it is not always conduced, the scholars and the practitioners strongly recommend performing these stages by the separate agents. In other words, in order to evaluate the project in accordance with the existing standards, it is desirable to install a special supervisory board or similar body.
Having summarized the main points of the study, several important inferential conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, the absence of one stage leads to the disruption of an entire project. Secondly, the analyses shall be conducted in accordance with the prescribed standards, otherwise the findings can be substantially distorted and the overall activity of the project will be seriously endangered.