Business Programme Management Ltd

Business Programme Management Ltd

Project management services and consulting

Contact us

^Home | Company | Clients | Services | AidProject FMS | Contact Us


 

AidProject M+E - Frequently Answered Questions (under development)

 

 

Summary of Questions

Installation & technical questions:
  1. What operating systems can I use?
  2. What versions of Microsoft Access must I use?
  3. What gets installed on my computer?
  4. What user permissions are required?
  5. Why won't it install?
  6. What happens when I uninstall?
  7. What happens when a new version is released?
  8. What about backups?
  9. What about database maintenance?
  10. What are References & the required Support Files?
  11. Why won't my charts (graphs) display?
  12. How much data can I put in the database & what about performance?
  13. Can I use it on multiple projects on the same PC?
  14. How can I get support?
  15. Is it possible for me to request software improvements?
  16. What is AidProject FMS?
  17. Is there a difference between the M+E facilities in AidProject M+E & AidProject FMS?

How to use AidProject M+E:

  1. In summary, what does AidProject M+E do?
  2. What are Trees & Branches & how are they used?
  3. How do Indicators, Locations & Periods relate to each other?
  4. What formats of target & actual values can I enter on each Period record?
  5. How can I create & save customised reports?
  6. How can I make it easier for Gatherers to collect actual values?
  7. Where are Text Records entered & used?
  8. How do the dates & periods on Period Records work?
 
 

Installation & technical questions

  1. What operating systems can I use?

    AidProject M+E has been designed for use with Windows XP although it should operate well on Windows 2000 & 2003 Server.

    It is possible that it can be made to work under Windows ME & 98 (with some additional components) but this is not recommend as future versions of AidProject M+E may require more modern operating systems.

     

  2. What versions of Microsoft Access must I use?

    AidProject M+E has been designed for use with Microsoft Access 2000 & above (XP & 2003). We recommend that all relevant updates be downloaded from Microsoft & applied to your version of Microsoft Windows & Microsoft Access.

     

  3. What gets installed on my computer?

    The installation routine creates various shortcuts on the programs menu & on the desktop, security-related registry entries to allow the use of program code in MS Access without annoying messages, & a folder called C:\Program Files\Business Programme Management Ltd\AidProject M+E\ into which it places several items including:

    • AidProjM.mde - the client program

    • AidProjD.mdb - the database

    • VersionHistory.txt - a log of changes in each version

    • two graphics files used by the program

    • a subfolder named FAQ containing this page

     

  4. What user permissions are required?

    With modern operating systems like Windows XP it is necessary for you to have administrator rights to install software (to maintain files in the Program Files folder). See Control Panel & User Accounts or ask your computer support personnel.

    To use AidProject M+E you only need to be a Standard User (member of the Power Users group). You cannot use AidProject M+E if you are a Restricted User (member of the Users group) as this group has no write access to files under the Program Files folder.

     

  5. Why won't it install?

    If you have installation problems, please note exactly what happens together with details of your computer & email us at info@bprom.com. Known reasons for installation problems are listed below:

    • Your computer login does not have administrator permissions & cannot therefore add the files. Contact your computer support representative to make you an administrator. Alternatively they can install the program & check you are a Standard user (can write to the Program Files folder.

    • You received "Error 1316. A network error occurred while attempting to read from the file...". It is likely that your previous installation was installed directly from the Internet rather than downloading the installation file then running it therefore the original installation (MSI) file cannot be found for the upgrade. The solution is to uninstall AidProject M+E from using Control Panel then install the new version. You will not lose your existing data (AidProjD.mdb) in the process.

    • You received "Error 1335 Cabinet file Data1 required for installation is corrupt & cannot be used". Either the file that you downloaded is corrupt & needs downloading again or you are using a protection program such as Cybersitter that is interfering with the installation & need to be shut off or adjusted.

    • You received "Error 3343 - Unrecognized database format". AidProject M+E is designed to work with Access 2000 or later & will not work with previous versions such as Access 97. Alternatively, this error can occur if the file named in the error message is corrupt in which case please email us with details for assistance.

    • Ensure you download the installation file to a public folder then launch it from there. Do not launch it from a temporary folder or the browser's cache folder.

     

  6. What happens when I uninstall?

    You can uninstall AidProject M+E using the uninstall shortcut on the programs menu or using the add/remove programs feature in Control Panel. In both cases all files are removed EXCEPT for the database AidProjD.mdb which is retained in case removal was accidental or later reinstallation is required.

     

  7. What happens when a new version is released?

    Please visit http://www.bprom.com/downloads periodically to check for new versions as these will contain new features & may address certain errors. After taking a backup, simply download & install the latest version to upgrade your database to the latest version.

     

  8. What about backups?

    Backups should be carried out frequently to guard against loss of important data. Several generations should be kept & these should be stored off-site. It is only necessary to backup the database file (AidProjD.mdb) although the entire AidProject M+E folder may be saved if preferred.

    To reduce storage space, first compact & repair the database using the facility provided on the Database Connections form. Considerable further space savings can then be achieved by compressing a copy of this file using a product such as WinRAR or WinZip.

    Restoring after a database problem or accidental entries by a user is relatively straightforward. Simply replace the live database file with an appropriate backup copy.

     

  9. What about database maintenance?

    To reduce storage space & improve performance, compact & repair the database using the facility provided on the Database Connections form.

     

  10. What are References & the required Support Files?

    AidProject M+E employs certain standard Microsoft support files to provide you with a modern user interface & better database performance. You will receive an error message if these support files are not installed on your PC & AidProject will fail to work properly. Visit http://www.bprom.com/downloads to obtain the missing files.

     

  11. Why won't my charts (graphs) display?

    AidProject M+E uses a standard Microsoft feature called MSGraph.Chart.8. If your charts fail to display this feature, or the correct version of this feature may not be installed properly. If you are using Office 2000 or above, try reinstalling the feature.

     

  12. How much data can I put in the database & what about performance?

    The free version of AidProject M+E uses the Microsoft Access database engine. This excellent performer has a 2 GB data limit regarded as more than adequate for the monitoring & evaluation of any normal project. For information, the version of AidProject M+E built into AidProject FMS operates on the Microsoft SQL Server database engine. With this leading database engine there no such constraints & performance can be faster due to the intelligent & dedicated nature of this database management system. Setting up the Indicators, Locations & Periods effectively is important so please consider your real requirements & remember that this target & actual data needs to be gathered & entered somehow! Period records are created at setup time therefore size & performance should not degrade noticeably over the life of the project. Only values & text records are added as the project progresses.

     

  13. Can I use it on multiple projects on the same PC?

    Yes, you can easily run multiple copies of AidProject M+E on the same PC so that each project has its own separate set of files (database, client & support files). The instructions below show you how to make a copy your original installation for a second (or subsequent) project:

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Almost the same process is necessary when you wish to upgrade your copy projects to use a newer software version. One important exception, the data for each of your copy projects is stored in its own database file named AidProjD.mdb. When you upgrade a project, first make a backup copy of its database file, copy all of the files as described above, then replace the newly coped database with the backup copy to reinstate the data of the copy project. Please contact info@bprom.com with any queries.

    1. Copy the original installation to a new folder:
      • Using Windows Explorer, select the folder C:\Program Files\Business Programme Management Ltd in the left pane.
      • In the right pane, right click AidProject M+E & select Copy. Then, right click an area of blank space in the right pane & select Paste to create a new folder called Copy of AidProject M+E.
      • Right click the new folder, select Rename then name it appropriately for your new project (e.g. AidProject M+E Project01).  You have now copied the original installation to a new folder.
    2. Copy the original Shortcut & make a new Shortcut that points to your new folder:
      • Right click the original Shortcut (on your desktop) & select Copy. Right click a blank area of your Desktop & select Paste.
      • Right click the newly created Shortcut, select Rename & name it appropriately for your new project.
      • Right click the newly created Shortcut, select Properties & change the folder name in both the "Target" & "Start in" fields. For example, change "C:\Program Files\Business Programme Management Ltd\AidProject M+E\AidProjM.mde" to "C:\Program Files\Business Programme Management Ltd\AidProject M+E Project01\AidProjM.mde" (for the "Target") & change "C:\Program Files\Business Programme Management Ltd\AidProject M+E\" to "C:\Program Files\Business Programme Management Ltd\AidProject M+E Project01\" (for the "Start in"). Click OK.
    3. Relink the new client (the program) with the new database:
      • Start your new copy of AidProject M+E using your newly created Shortcut.
      • Select Database Connections from the Forms menu & click the "Relink all Tables" button.
      • Select Control File from the Forms menu & change the "Client" field to the name of your new project.

     

  14. How can I get support?

    Contact info@bprom.com providing a detailed description of your problem.

     

  15. Is it possible for me to request software improvements?

    Yes, if you have a good idea you wish to be included in a future version please let us know. If there is something specific you want our developers to create for you please also email us at info@bprom.com with information so we can provide an indicator of cost.

     

  16. What is AidProject FMS?

    AidProject FMS is a quality financial management & procurement system designed specifically to empower the management of Donor-funded aid projects. AidProject M+E is provided free to introduce new customer to AidProject FMS. You can download the FMS web pages from http://www.bprom.com/downloads or view them online at http://www.bprom.com/fms. If you have an interest in AidProject FMS please email one of our consultants at info@bprom.com.

     

  17. Is there a difference between the M+E facilities in AidProject M+E & AidProject FMS?

    Yes but not too much. AidProject M+E is a fully working Monitoring & Evaluation System provided free of charge whereas AidProject FMS is a quality financial management & procurement system designed specifically to empower the management of Donor-funded aid projects. AidProject M+E is also built into AidProject FMS to combine Monitoring & Evaluation with Financial Management.

    AidProject FMS is a sophisticated system yet easy to use. All reports are web-based & it operates on the leading database server. For your information, the M+E facilities in AidProject FMS have in-built user security & the database provides better performance with vast quantities of data.

 
 

How to use AidProject M+E

Questions about day-to-day use:
  1. In summary, what does AidProject M+E do?

    We presume you have knowledge or Monitoring & Evaluation as it applies to Donor-funded aid projects. For more information we recommend A Guide for Project M&E from IFAD.

    AidProject M+E provides the means to set up Performance Indicators & to record & report on target & actual values. The four key steps are as follows:

    • Define Lookup Trees & Branches to customise AidProject M+E for your project. These include LogFrame, Methods, Purposes, Gatherers, Monitors, etc.

    • Define project Indicators together with their Locations & Periods. Attach additional criteria (your customised Trees & Branches) for reporting & analysis.

    • Maintain period targets & actual performance data (dates, text, money, yield, etc.).

    • Distribute performance reports to Monitors (Donors, Government, Project Management, Stakeholders, etc.) & export spreadsheets to assist Gatherers.

     

  2. What are Trees & Branches & how are they used?

    Use the form 'Define Lookup Trees & their Branches' to maintain Tree & Branch Records. Right-click your mouse on a Branch to add children branches or delete an entry.

    The term 'Trees & Branches' represents a number of separate hierarchical code sets that you use when you set up your Performance Indicators. For example, you can use the Locations Tree (hierarchy) to set up user-defined levels such as Country, Constituency, District, Town & Village, & then populate these with the locations used by your project. Some Trees allow just one level whereas others can have up to 10 levels.

    Every Tree entry has a notes field for your general use & some Trees provide additional fields. For example, the Trees for Gatherer Groups & Monitor Groups can have Contacts as members (just tick the circle to add/remove). Conversely, Contacts can join Gatherer & Monitor Groups & you can also add contact information.

    The Units of Measure Tree enables you to customise the units available for Performance Indicators. Units can be a Date, Number or Text & the presentation format of several fields can be defined to, for example, define the number of decimal places. Note that you are not limited to the format entries presented in the drop-down. You may enter customised formats (see MS Access help).

    The M+E Method Tree enables you to record the approach for the gathering of performance information (e.g. interviews). The example methods included in AidProject M+E are those described in detail by IFAD in its M+E Guide at http://www.ifad.org/evaluation/guide/annexd/index.htm.

    Note that the three Text Trees (Impacts, Statuses, Types) are used on Text Records & not on Performance Indicators.

     

  3. How do Indicators, Locations & Periods relate to each other?

    Use the form 'Define Indicators, Locations & Periods' to maintain these Records. Right-click your mouse on a Branch to add Performance Indicators or delete an entry. If you are prevented from deleting a Performance Indicator you must first delete/clear all children/related records such as Periods, Periods Text, Locations, Text, Gatherers & Monitors.

    Associate the Indicator with a single entry from your Project's Logical Framework Matrix (LogFrame), with an M+E Method, a Purpose & a Unit of Measure. A new Indicator has been set up basically after you select your preferred Presentation & Chart options.

    Note that Performance Indicators are just the primary element of Monitoring & Evaluation. Next, each Indicator must be associated with one (All Locations) or more Locations. Then, each Location must have one or more Period Records into which you enter the target & actual values that are monitored. Simply click the individual Locations (on the Locations tab) that apply to this indicator then set up the fields on the Periods tab & click the update button to create the periods that you require.

    Note that the Indicator can also have multiple Text Records (for describing the Indicator - these may or may not be reported). Indicators & be associated with multiple Gatherer Groups & Monitor Groups (to enable selective reporting for these report recipients).

    In the Trees & Branches field, note that a certain Indicator will appear once or more under each Tree according to how it has been set up. This flexible presentation assists you in finding related Indicators according to your needs.

     

  4. What formats of target & actual values can I enter on each Period record?

    The allowable format of the target & actual values on a Period record is determined by your entry in the Unit of Measure field on the Period's Indicator record. The three alternative data types are date, number & text & other Units of Measure are user-defined using 'Define Lookup Trees & Their Branches'. User-defined Units of Measure enable you to control the format of the period & all values displayed (& printed).

    Use the form 'Maintain Period Values & Text' to enter target & actual records & to enter Text Records against a Period. First, to find the Periods you wish to maintain using the filters on the left (you might display only the current period for a certain Gatherer.) Next, click on each period to display the values & variances on the right & enter target & actual data.

     

  5. How can I create & save customised reports?

    Reports for Gatherers are intended to help them gather actual values for their assigned Performance Indicators, Locations & Periods. After you have assigned Gatherer Groups against Performance Indicators you can filter reports by Gatherer Group to include appropriate Indicators only. Many other report filters allow you to specify a Location, date range, etc.

    Reports for Monitors also use filters to include specified Indicators by Monitor Group & to limit the dates reported on, etc.

    In addition to filters (on the right of the report screen), you can choose the level of detail you want displayed, you can override the Chart Options selected on each Performance Indicator & you can include a box for hand written input.

    There are two formats of report, a conventional report may be output to screen, printer or snapshot file (very small for emailing), & a spreadsheet allows Gatherers to enter collected data. Download & install the Microsoft Snapshot Viewer (1.8 mb) to view reports output to a snapshot file.

    You will probably wish to save your report filters & options for reuse. Use the tape-recorder type controls (or page up & page down) at the bottom of the window to navigate through existing reports & use the * key to create a new report format.

     

  6. How can I make it easier for Gatherers to collect actual values?

    The standard method for gathering actual values is to provide each gatherer with a list of the Indicators, Locations & Periods that you wish gathered & ask them to write the values on the report. This can be achieved by creating a custom report filtered by gatherer, location, dates, etc. containing the minimum of other information but including an input box for hand-written entries.

    You may output the report to a Snapshot file. Such files are very small, can be emailed easily & printed by the gatherer.

    Further, you may output the selected information to a spreadsheet if the gatherer wishes to enter the information & email this back to you.

     

  7. Where are Text Records entered & used?

    Text Records may be entered against both Period Records & Indicator Records. Both sets are presented on reports depending on the 'Publish' flag on the record & the report options selected at run time. The Notes box is a more basic alternative for the storing & publishing of additional information.

    Period type text Records are particularly important in providing subjective information & follow-on actions back to Monitors.

     

  8. How do the dates & periods on Period Records work?

    Every Period Record displays both a date & period. The date is stored on the Period Record & the period is simply determined from the date using your chosen presentation format.

    The presentation format is user-defined on the Unit of Measure record & this record is associated with the Period's Performance Indicator.

    You may vary the period format on a Unit of Measure record but this will affect all Performance Indicators using that record so you may choose to set up a new Unit of Measure. We recommend that the format be short as the period is displayed on charts.

 

e


2008 Business Programme Management Ltd | Registered in England: 03706347 | EMail: info@bprom.com