Management of Complex Programs
MANAGEMENT OF COMPLEX PROGRAMS: WORKING EFFECTIVELY IN A CONSORTIUM ENVIRONMENT
Wednesday, 20 November, 2013
Presenters: Patrick Danière, West Africa Deputy Regional Director for Management Quality (Sahel and Coastal), Catholic Relief Services; Moderators: Patrick Coonan, Knowledge Management Officer, TOPS; Valerie Stetson, Independent Consultant
Many Title II and other food security programs now operate with a prime leading a consortium of international and local NGO sub-recipients. The consortium arrangement allows for greater geographic coverage, inclusion of technical and sectoral strengths from multiple organizations, and the potential of much greater impact through the synergy of the collaboration as well as greater coverage. However, working in a consortium is also managerially more complex. This session explored different components of consortia, using input from primes, subs and perhaps organizations that have yet to participate in a consortium arrangement. After reviewing different aspects of work in consortia, the session participants selected one of seven components for further discussion of possible improvements, bringing to bear their practical experience and any tools or resource materials. CRS’s CAFÉ manual were provided on CD in English, French and Spanish to all participants for future reference. The group identified some key ways forward for improving consortium work in the future.
The facilitator began the session by asking participants to write down one word that, in their minds, described a highly functional consortium. Those words that appeared with the most frequency include complementarity/synergy, communication, collaboration and coordination. The facilitator presented the seven components of consortium management according to Catholic Relief Service’s model: goals, strategies, structure, roles, process, interpersonal, and learning. Participants then used dots to rank where they felt the consortiums that they belong(ed) to rank across the seven components. Participants tended to rank their consortium experience highly for the components of goals and roles. Participants tended to rank their consortium experience lowly for the components of structure, strategies, and interpersonal. Afterward, participants broke into small groups, each of which was assigned one of the seven components. Each group identified practices or activities that they believed would be most effective in improving consortium management for that component.