Tag Archives: Outcomes

The Logical Framework

Have you ever executed a plan, only to find that you did not accomplish your original goal?

The Logical Framework is a tool that will help ensure that the plan you execute causes you to deliver the outcomes needed to achieve the purpose you want that means you accomplish the goal you desire. The idea is that you link the things you do directly to the desired goal through a logical thought process.

In the Logical Framework you define success measures, verification method and assumptions behind each of the planned actions (the model calls these “Inputs“), “Outcomes” of executing the plan, the “Purpose” behind wanting those outcomes, and the end “Goal” you want to achieve.

The core of the Logical Framework is the “temporal logic model” that runs through the matrix. This takes the form of a series of connected propositions:

  • If these Inputs are implemented, and these Assumptions hold, then these Outcomes will be delivered.
  • If these Outcomes are delivered, and these Assumptions hold, then this Purpose will be achieved.
  • If this Purpose is achieved, and these Assumptions hold, then this Goal will be achieved.

This tool was developed by the US Aid government department to ensure that the ultimate outcomes of delivering humanitarian aid to a country were achieved as a result of the aid program. Basically, this is a reinforced outcome based approach to project planning.

For all of the detail, have a look at the following:

The Logical Framework, A Manager’s Guide

http://www.managementpro.com/articles-resources

More on Definition of Outcomes vs. Objectives

I was asked for more explanation on the differences between Outcomes and Objectives.

  • The Outcome is the effect that we want to see happen in the lives of our clients.
  • The Objective is the thing that we must achieve in order to cause the results in the lives of our clients.
  • Outcomes are written independently of us.
  • Objectives are written to tell us what we must achieve, so they are written for us.

My boss put it like this: A simple way to differentiate between Outcomes and Objectives is that Objectives focus on intended results, whilst Outcomes focus on achieved results. Objectives also clarify how we get to the Outcomes; what needs to be accomplished in order for the Outcomes to be achieved.

Outcome based thinking has become standard in much of the commercial world. For example, businesses are much more focused on levels of customer satisfaction than the wait time on customer service phone answering systems. Wait time on customer service answering systems would have an impact on customer satisfaction, but if you can achieve customer satisfaction by some completely different means (e.g. change product design to have few faults, use live chat customer service rather than phone calls) then the end problem is solved.

As a result of this, some major donors to Christian ministry in the US have made donations dependent upon outcomes rather than activities. The first example I heard about was the McClellan Foundation, that was funding the Book of Hope ministry. Book of Hope was distributing Bibles in the developing world, and was being funded along the lines of “$x puts y Bibles in the hands of z children”. This led to a mentality of “our job is to distribute Bibles” regardless of their impact on people’s lives. The McClellan Foundation said it didn’t want to fund Bibles being distributed, but to see children who follow Jesus in the target countries. As a result of this, the Book of Hope ministry changed its emphasis to distribution of Bibles and teaching from them. Continued funding from the McClellan Foundation was dependent upon before-and-after qualitative surveys in the target demographics. Prior to the project a survey is taken asking key questions (e.g. Do you know who Jesus is?, Do you lie to your parents?). After the ministry the survey is taken again, and the impact of the ministry on the children is assessed.

From a leadership perspective, I think that Outcomes are better goals to set for staff because they give more freedom in implementation by the staff in order to achieve the desired end result.

Some more specific examples of Outcomes vs. Objectives:

Example A:

  • Outcome: Everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.
  • Objective: Spiritual movements launched everywhere containing people who truly follow Jesus by end 2020.

Example B:

  • Outcome: 100 students in the University of Warsaw living a Spirit filled life.
  • Objective: Spirit filled life taught and demonstrated to student leaders in University of Warsaw by June 30 2015.

Example C:

  • Outcome: No Eastern Europe staff leave our organization because of lack of funds.
  • Objective: 100% of Eastern Europe staff are fully funded by Dec 31 2016.

Defining Outcome vs. Objective vs. Action

There is often confusion between the terms Outcome, Objective and Actions in strategic plans.

The principle behind the use of these words is to think in terms of:

  • What do we want to see change in our client?
  • What does that change look like from the perspective of the service that we provide?
  • What do we do to create that change?

When writing a plan, the general flow of thinking should be:

  1. What changes do we want to see in the people we serve?
  2. What changes do we need to make in order to effect the desired change in the people we serve?
  3. What do we actually do to cause those changes?

If this thinking is used, then:

  • The Outcome is the change that we want to see in the people we serve.
  • The Objective is the change that we need to make in order to cause the effect of the Outcomes in the people we serve.
  • The Actions are the things that we do to cause those changes.

In more detail, the differences between these terms are:

Outcome

  • The Outcome is the result is for the people we serve.
  • An Outcome is a description of the results written from the perspective of the client.
  • The advantage of writing Outcomes is that regardless of what we do and how we get there, if we focus on the outcome the result will always be delivered for the client.
  • Outcomes should be written so that the changes in the client, or the effects of our actions on the client, are observable and measurable in a specific timeframe.

Objective

  • The Objective is the result of what we do.
  • An objective is a description of the results written from our perspective.
  • The advantage of writing Objectives is that they more directly relate to us and what we do. A possible disadvantage is that that badly written objectives could result in success for us, but not achieving the goal for the people we are supposed to serve.
  • Objectives should be written so that we can see if we have done what we said we would do (i.e. observable and measurable) in a specific timeframe.
  • Objectives can be related to desired outcomes. Objectives can be determined from Outcomes, by re-writing them from our perspective. The achievement of well written objectives should inherently and unambiguously lead to the achievement of related outcomes.

Action

  • An Action is what we do.
  • Steps taken by us in order to achieve the Outcomes or Objectives.
  • Actions should be measurable and time-bound.

Example 1:

Outcome:

Strategic plans will contain correct use of the terms Outcome, Objective and Action in 2015.

Objective:

Explain the correct use of the terms Outcome, Objective and Action in strategic plans by end of 2014.

Actions:

Write and e-mail explaining the correct use of the terms Outcome, Objective and Action in strategic plans in March 2014.

Post a blog entry explaining the correct use of the terms Outcome, Objective and Action in strategic plans in March 2014.

Respond to all questions from staff about the correct use of the terms Outcome, Objective and Action in strategic plans by end December 2014.

Example 2:

Outcome:

20 new countries have new Student Led Movements by end 2020.

Objective:

Student Led Movements launched in 20 new countries by end 2020.

Actions:

Training of students in leading new movements by end 2015.

Arrange sending trips for existing student movement leaders to 10 new countries by end 2017.