Operationalizing the Conservation Standards

The Ops Committee aims to share experiences in managing conservation project information. In particular, we work to identify and develop the guidance and systems improvements required to help projects go full-cycle, and to integrate conservation project information with other core business processes. Achieving these outcomes should help organizations to efficiently run quality conservation projects and achieve their impact.

The term "Operationalize” is commonly used in business sectors and refers to the "routine function of putting standard processes and practices into use, and exploiting their key features". The related term “Institutionalize” generally means “the building of infrastructure and culture that supports practices so that they are the ongoing way of doing business. The result is the deployment and implementation of processes that are effective, usable, and consistently applied across the organization. Institutionalization implies that the process is ingrained in the way the work is performed and there is commitment and consistency to performing the process.”

Lead: Annette Stewart (Bush Heritage Australia)

Data Systems Project

The Data Systems Project was initiated at the 2019 CMP Member Retreat, resulting from the workshop "How do we get the systems we need?". This workshop recognized that we all share the task of managing information associated with planning, implementing, and tracking conservation projects. Independent of what systems we use (if any), decisions are being made regarding what actions & monitoring to implement, who is leading the work, who else is helping, when the work needs to be done, and how much it’s going to cost. We all face the need of assessing, in some way, whether we are doing what we said we would do, and whether the intended results are being achieved.

We hypothesize that if we pool some of our intellectual and financial resources together then we can expand and substantially improve our current systems so that in future we can spend much less time wrangling and collating information.

In the initial phase, we built on the experiences of several member orgs who have recently been through a systems analysis exercise. The result is a collective view of the user-tasks and "personas" associated with conservation projects in our 5 targeted work streams, These results are helping us to identify and prioritize shared needs that would benefit from systems development investment.

All working groups have completed the planned analysis exercises, and input was sought from the broader community via the CCNet listserve. The results are available here - CMP Data Systems Broadsheet v1.0; the last page outlines our approach to tackling next steps. The March CMP Member Call included an overview and discussion of next steps - a recording is available in the Conservation in Practice section of this website.

The next steps are to identify the people and organisations who want to collaborate on improving the systems available to us all. Work-planning has been identified as the initial priority. If you are interested, or have a colleague working in this space, please get in touch with Annette Stewart (Bush Heritage Australia).


Discussions are now underway to develop improved work-planning systems. Our working group has used this spreadsheet to refine and rate high-level stories identifying our needs; we are now looking at potential systems that might meet these needs. Refer also to our meeting notes.

For results from the earlier phase of work on this subject area refer interactive visuals available here.

Work-planning team: Giselle (USFWS) Annette (BHA), Erica (ICF), Catherine (Durrell), Oscar M (independant), Carlso Scaramuzza (IIs-rio.org) Nick (FOS), Dave Kramer (independant); other interested - Zach (Rare), Cate (WWF), Charles (NCC), Clair (BH), Elizabeth(EON), Brenda Van Sleeuwen (NCC)


Initial focus is on building out a Miradi Share library of Reporting Templates, so that people can more easily produce quality documents from their project information. Details of key tasks and expected outputs are here. Ongoing meeting notes are here.

A secondary focus is on building out the Dashboard template, so that people can quickly create an interactive dashboard showing their project details in Miradi Share, using Power BI, and expand on this template to access information in their other systems. The template is currently in pilot; will announce details here when its ready for sharing.

For results from the earlier phase of work on this subject area refer interactive visuals available here.

Reporting team: Erica (ICF), Kari (PSP) Catherine (Durrell), Dan Salzer (TNC), Warren Lockwood (Sitka), Mike Honey (Manga Solutions) Clair Dougherty (BHA), Brenda Van Sleeuwen (NCC)


Work on phase 2 of the Monitoring workstream has not yet started. See the broadsheet for further details. Interactive visuals are available here.

Monitoring team – leader = Annette (BH); Dianne (WCS); core team: Clair (BH), Giselle (USFWS), Pete Cutter (NatureServe), Elizabeth (EON), Amelia (WWF US), Brenda Van Sleeuwen (NCC)

Land Management

Work on phase 2 of the Land Management workstream has not yet started. See the broadsheet for further details

Land Management team – leader = Charles (NCC), core team: Shelton (BH), Dan (TNC), Giselle (USFWS)

Grant Management

Work on phase 2 of the Grant Management workstream has not yet started. See the broadsheet for further details. Phase 1 interactive visuals available here

Grants management team – leader = Matt (USFWS); meeting notes here

Data Standards & Infrastructure

Discussions are underway to clarify the concept of a Data Standard and how this might support development and integration of systems for projects using the Conservation Standards; an initial briefing is available here.

Data frameworks and infrastructure team – Leader = Nick, Team: Amelia (WWF US), Annette

Data Systems Project - Overall Project Co-ordination

Links to key Phase 1 documents

Meeting Notes - ongoing list of notes from meetings

Project Plan - Identifying our common systems needs 2019 — Project Plan to co-ordinate the teams set up at the 2019 CMP Retreat to work on identifying our common systems needs

2019 CMP Survey of systems currently in use, and key gaps — Survey of CMP member orgs, prior to discussion at 2019 Retreat. If you want to contribute, please add a new column for your org.

Ops Committee info

Operationalizing the Open Standards - Scope of Work — Scope of Works for "Operationalizing the Open Standards" committee, including Vision and long-term workplan

Our Situation analysis and Theory of Change - link to our project file on Miradi Share, outlining 2017 analysis that set up our scope of work and subsequent actions.

Committee Google Drive — Google drive for documentation developed after 2017 CMP Retreat (to be moved to this google Site soon)

Operationalizing OS - guidance on roles

These guidelines were developed by the Ops Committee during 2018, outlining the type of roles and responsibilities required within organisations to operationalize their use of the Open Standards.

Roles and Responsibilities Google Drive

Roles and Responsibilities - Guide to Resources

Roles and Responsibilities - Information Resources

Roles and Responsibilities - Sample Position Description

Supporting Roles and Responsibilities Q & A

Supporting Roles and Responsibilities - Survey Results

Operationalizing OS - Fulbright reports

These guidelines were developed by Annette Stewart during 2016-17 as part of a Fulbright scholarship - "Improving the practice of conservation, by improving the management of conservation". This project reviewed practices within several CMP member organisations and compared them with operationalizing approaches in other sectors and industries, to create guidelines for the conservation sector.

Operationalizing the Open Standards - A guide for using CMP’s systems – Miradi and Miradi Share - to support implementation and management of Open Standards projects.

Institutionalizing the Open Standards - A guide for fully exploiting the Open Standards to improve organizational performance and enable data-informed investment decision-making.

Conservation Business Process Model - Outlines a business process model illustrating how the Open Standards and supporting technology enable efficient processes, quality data management, and integration of systems, which are critical for an effective conservation organisation.

Conservation Capability Maturity Model - A tool for assessing and improving performance of conservation organisations.

Summary Report to CMP - summarizes key findings from the study of practices, with reference to the specific guidance documents produced.

Additional guidance documents on other topics are available in this Fulbright Toolkit.