MERL Tech 2016

For the third year running, MERL Tech has brought together practitioners from across the development and technology industries to connect with collaborators and contemplate the strange and beguiling space that we share. This year's was my first ever MERL Tech, and it did not disappoint. Over the course of two »

Introducing: Release Notes

Over the last two years, we've greatly expanded the ways we let you know about changes in the software. We're excited to announce a new addition to this: Release Notes. We also wanted to take the opportunity to remind you of all the ways you can stay up to date »

Bulk Editing & Summer 2016 Developments

We're pleased to announce the launch of our bulk editing tool for Activities and Indicators. Here's a few details on how it works, as well as some smaller changes in DevResults that you may not have noticed, including new formula and data table indicator diagnostics! Bulk Editing Activities & Indicators »

New Feature: Dropbox Integration

DevResults provides unlimited document and photo storage, and many clients love this feature. But for those of you who already have existing document storage solutions, never fear! We're excited to introduce our latest feature: the ability to connect your Dropbox account to your DevResults site. 1 Why Would I Use »

New Feature: Help Menu

We're always working to make DevResults easier to understand and use. Last year we released our Something's Wrong tool to make it easier to report bugs or ask questions from within your DevResults site. Now we are proud to unveil our latest tool to help you use DevResults better: the »

New Feature: Reporting Cycles

Reporting Cycles will let you more easily assign different reporting frequencies to your indicators, like having some indicators report annually and some report quarterly. 1 How Does It Work? Reporting Cycles contain Reporting Periods. A quarterly Reporting Cycle contains all of your quarterly Reporting Periods; an annual Reporting Cycle contains »

April 2016 Developments

While we've been collecting beta-tester feedback on the Reporting Cycles feature, we've still been working on other site improvements. Reporting Cycles will actually come to your DevResults site near the end of this month, but I wanted to keep you posted on some smaller changes we've rolled out since my »

Introducing Alina Epstein, Director of Training and Knowledge Management

Note: Over the last year and a half, we've been working to expand our training and knowledge management support for clients. We've added an administrator certification and a Train the Trainers program, but Leslie and I just haven't had enough hours in the day to dedicate to rounding out training »

Bulk Imports

When we released the new index pages in December, we added bulk import of new activities, organizations, and locations and promised you bulk import of new indicators. Well, the time has come--we now have a bulk import tool for new indicators, too! To celebrate, we wanted to give you a »

March 2016 Developments

Our biggest news for March and April is the launch of our beta testing program for major new features. Here's a full round-up of what we've been working on since my last blog post. 1 Beta Testing of Major New Features As we threatened in our 2016 vision blog post, »

Introducing Christian Smith, Director of Management Services

Note: I first met Christian when he was working for USAID in Mozambique, which was our first big country-level implementation for the agency. We've had many conversations since then about the role of management and systems in international development, and I've always been impressed with his intelligence and his insights »

Early Spring 2016 Developments

Though we're hard at work on bigger projects, we have pushed out a few smaller changes that I wanted to be sure you knew about, including the return of left-hand filters to the index pages, some permissions adjustments, and more helpful indicator dashboard widgets. Here are the details. 1 Index »

Where we're headed in 2016

2015 was a year of big changes for us. Previously, we'd been a hybrid company doing a combination of web development and DevResults. At the start of 2015, we officially closed the consulting branch of the business to focus exclusively on DevResults. With this identity change, we experimented with changes »

2015 Retrospective

The last year saw a lot of changes here at DevResults, and in good M&E fashion we've decided to review a lot of that to craft our strategy and focus for calendar year 2016. Overall, 2015 was a year of internal change for us--new staff, systematizing a lot »

The Revolution Will Not Be Open Source

Open-source software is an amazing phenomenon. But it's not the answer for international development, any more than it is in any other field. I love open-source software. I'm writing this blog post in Ghost, an open-source blogging platform, using Google Chrome, a (mostly) open-source browser built on top of the »

Small Orgs Need Love Too

DevResults is a bootstrapped software company, meaning we’re funded only by our revenue. In almost every way, this has been a dream come true. The independence has granted us the freedom to define how we work and what we work on. Most importantly, we’ve been able to focus »

New Feature: Single Indicator Pito

Most of you are familiar with Pito, our query tool for viewing indicator performance data. I'd like to introduce you to Pito's new little brother: Single Indicator Pito. For an individual indicator, the Reports tab has always contained three things: a choropleth map, an actuals vs. targets chart, and a »

Overhauled Index Pages

We're proud to announce the unveiling of our new, improved Index pages. These are the pages that list all of your activities, all of your indicators, etc. We completely rewrote these from scratch to get you improved performance, a cleaner interface, and a whole bunch of perks. The new pages »

New Feature: Custom Queries

We're pleased to announce our newest feature: custom queries. Working with one of our Data Scientists, you can define a custom layout for some DevResults information in Excel. We'll write the query and save it directly in your site, and you can run it whenever you need it. Here's what »

Autumnal Developments

In the last two months, we've made a number of changes to DevResults, but the truth is you may not have noticed them. Unlike previous blog posts about shiny new functionality or user interface changes, this post is a lot about what we've been doing behind the scenes to make »

New Help Site

We just completed a migration of all of our help documentation to a new platform. Here's what you need to know about the change. The more things change, the more they stay the same. You'll keep accessing it using the same trusted url (, and all the »

August Developments

Here's a summary of the major updates we've rolled out in the last month. 1 Indicator Definition Page Overhaul Yes, I wrote an entire other blog post about this because there are so many changes. Be sure to check it out: improved formula editor, data table mapping interface, warnings when »

Overhauled Indicator Definition Page

We're proud to announce the unveiling of our new, improved Indicator Definition page. The Indicator Definition page contains a lot of the rules and logic that dictate how DevResults calculates and displays indicator performance data. So updating this page touched many corners in the site and prompted us to overhaul »

New Feature: Diagnostics

We're working to make DevResults easier to understand and use. Our newest feature is the Diagnostics panel. Don't see what you're expecting in DevResults? This page should be your first stop. It highlights potential problems with your configuration. It doesn't find every problem yet, but we're going to keep working »

July Developments

As most of you know, we're a small but dedicated group of people, and we are constantly working to improve DevResults, but we know you don't always find out about those improvements right away. We're working to change that by communicating medium and major changes to you on this blog. »

Celebrating diversity with pride and joy

DevResults is used all around the world by many different kinds of people. In each of those places, the reason people use our software is to make the world a better place. Some DevResults users are working in their own countries; others have moved to unfamiliar places. All have dedicated »

Proposal: Towards an IATI Indicator Definition Schema

Aid transparency is not an end in itself: It is a means towards an end. Transparency leads to greater accountability, and accountability leads to greater effectiveness. The donors and others who are committing to publish data are, in effect, agreeing to be held accountable: Accountable to each other, and ultimately »

Proposal: Performance reporting in IATI

We're in the process of adding import and export support for the IATI XML format to DevResults. Although IATI is primarily conceived as a public transparency standard (hence the T), many organizations are beginning to see it as a promising interchange format for reporting results — either outbound reporting (to »

A better way to help you

At DevResults, we are committed to providing you with the best possible tool. It has to be fast, accurate and easy to use. But just like international development, this is an ongoing improvement process. When something isn't working, we want to know as quickly as possible so we can fix »

Proposal: Universal Indicator Library

There are lots of obstacles inhibiting the flow of development data. One important one is the lack of common standards for performance indicators. We would like to start just by creating a clearinghouse of existing indicator lists, and then using crowdsourcing tools to cross-reference these. Apples to apples It's difficult, »

A brand-new demo site

We've rebuilt our demo site from the ground up, giving us a comprehensive sandbox for testing DevResults' capabilities, as well as a way for interested people to play with the software. From the first day DevResults launched as a stand-alone product, we've had a demo site available to showcase the »

Caudill Web is now DevResults

About fifteen years ago I came home to the U.S. after several years in West Africa and started doing some freelance web development. Four years later I had more work than I could handle on my own. So in 2004 I incorporated Caudill Web. Shane Kunkle took a big »

Introducing Kate Mueller, Senior Data Scientist

Note: We needed Kate a long time ago. Leslie Sage, our Director of Data Science, was putting in heroic hours to keep up with the onslaught of new DevResults users that have come on board in the past year. We knew it wouldn't be easy to match Leslie's work ethic »

Telling people what you did with their money

Three decades ago, foreign aid professionals like my father had to cobble together homemade databases in order to keep track of their work. Today, not much has changed, and practitioners in the field still lack the software tools they need to count their outputs and analyze their impact. DevResults is »

Making DevResults simpler, faster, and more sociable

The engineering team here at DevResults has a lot going on right now. These are some things we're working on these days that we're really excited about. Reintroducing simplicity As more and more people have started using DevResults over the last few years, we’ve been adding more and more »

You can't have big data without lots of little data

Data has the potential to really transform the way foreign aid is done. Better data makes it possible for donors to be transparent. It makes it possible for decisions and priorities to be evidence-based. It makes it possible to hold everyone involved more accountable. Let's go beyond the hype, though, »