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 to a lot of processes and workflows that we'd been itching to fix but hadn't had the time or humanpower »

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 of our support and work processes, and technical infrastructure changes. All of these have been iterative processes, and we wanted »

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 open-source Blink engine. Ghost runs on Node.js, which is also open source. The DevResults app is built using open-source »

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 on helping our clients, instead of meeting investor expectations. But bootstrapping has its disadvantages. Since our start in 2004, we’ »

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 results grid. As many of you have noted, the results grid was pretty limited in how you could arrange and »

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 are considerably faster, the filters/search are much more responsive and user-friendly, you can now create new activities in bulk, »

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 you need to know about the feature. 1 Why Would I Need It? Sometimes, you need to see info in »

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 DevResults better, from architectural changes to streamlining scheduled tasks and processes. But before I jump into that, just a little »

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 (http://help.devresults.com), and all the same content is there, just in a smoother interface. New landing page The significant difference you'll see is the site's »

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 things won't work properly, and more! 2 Data Table Locking I teased you with this in last month's blog post »

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 all kinds of behind-the-scenes calculations and logic. We're intensely proud of how much more user-friendly the page is now, and »

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 on every configuration warning you might need. For now, here's what you need to know to start using it: 1 »

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. In the last few weeks, here's what we've been up to: 1 New default messaging behavior for Activity's submission/return/ »

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 their careers to making a difference, one way or another. But making the world a better place is hard. There »

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 accountable to the citizens in the recipient countries and to the taxpayers in donor countries. The International Aid Transparency Initiative »

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 funder, or to a home office) or inbound reporting (from a grantee or contractor). However, the IATI standard currently »

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 it. Why we needed a new tool We want to make getting help with DevResults as easy and friction-less as »

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, even with a relatively small and self-contained universe (like a single international NGO, or a single USAID mission) to agree »

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 software's functionality. The site showed how a fictitious development project might use DevResults to manage its work. The program isn't »

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 chance and left the security of a big company to join me. Over the years, we grew slowly, preferring to »

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 and street smarts. We were lucky to find Kate, who is just as comfortable wrestling with spreadsheets and databases as »

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 working to change that, by creating easy-to-use software specifically intended for monitoring and managing foreign aid programs. This is the »

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 functionality and complexity to the site, and the cohesiveness and simplicity of the user experience has suffered as a result. »

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, and talk about the actual mechanics of capturing and using development data. This article is adapted from a talk that »