If you do nothing else as a developmental evaluator, at the very least, you are there to help ask evaluation questions, offer systematic data and observations and, ultimately, help your partners to foresee and manage potential problems and opportunities. Developmental evaluation can take you much deeper, helping to untangle issues that are already known but difficult for participants to manage, helping identify pathways to success, and helping resolve conflicts with new information.
To do any of these, you need to stay on top of the action, including building an understanding of the context, the strategy, the reason the work matters to the stakeholders, the barriers, and the opportunity. There are many ways to do this. Below are three examples that can be effective in many different settings.