To assist in making decisions on the set of objectives in terms of which a program is to be managed and held accountable, Wholey includes an analysis of the plausibility of program objectives. On the basis of what has been learned from program documentation, from interviews with program managers, policy makers, and representatives of relevant interest groups, and from site visits, the evaluators estimate the chances that each objective will be achieved at an acceptable level. Wholey explains that these plausibility analyses have changed evaluability assessment from a pre-evaluation process to an evaluation process. Thus, the plausibility analysis represents the evaluator's judgments on the likely success of the program.
The third focus is on management use of evaluability assessment information to improve program design, program performance, and use of program performance information. Using the information gathered and analyzed in the first two evaluability assessment steps, the evaluators are now in a position to work with management by exploring options for program change and program improvement.
The evaluable model of the program presents, in summary form, an evaluation of the program design. The evaluable program is that portion of the program that is currently manageable in relation to a set of realistic program objectives and agreed-upon program performance indicators. Being able to identify what portion of the program is now evaluable and what steps need to be taken to increase this proportion is one of the key outputs of any EA.
Approaches such as policy analysis and program evaluation are needed today, given the complexity, breadth, and ambiguity of problems faced by many organizations. The concepts, techniques, and tools associated with them are sufficiently developed to be useful to the practicing analyst. The management analyst who understands and can apply these approaches will find his services in demand, particularly by top level officials who must wrestle with the most fundamental issues in their organizations.