In the execution of projects, several factors contribute to the successful implementation of the project. Factors such as the resources allocated; financial, human and material being put to judicious use; and activities being followed through to ensure that resources reflect the output and outcome. Finally, the desired impact or goal is achieved. It is therefore vital to systematically plan the inputs and processes to achieve the intended project outcome. Crawford and Bryce (2003) opine that the aid industry leads in the use of the logical framework approach as a project design tool. However, its utilization has been limited to project financing and the
Monitoring and evaluation system 35 operationalized M&.E information systems to support project implementation. The widespread use of the logical framework, however, has not been without limitations. The major drawback of the logical framework approach was the assumption that certain external factors could not be controlled, therefore relying on assumptions.
The logical framework approach (LFA) was developed in the early 1960s by the USAID and NORAD in response to planning and monitoring of development projects (Barasa, 2014). A logical framework (LogFrame), also referred to as a logic model, provides a linear, logical interpretation of the relationship between specific input needs for carrying out planned activities to produce the specific outputs, resulting in the specific outcomes and impacts comparable to the objectives and goals of the project on the horizontal axis. The logical framework can be described as a planning and management tool (Barasa, 2014) for projects because it details the current progress of the project and where the project should be within a specific time frame. It further places much importance on the linkage between resources, activities, outputs and outcomes which serves as the basis to develop a comprehensive management plan (Gage & Dunn, 2009). The World Bank (2004) posits that the logical framework clarifies project objectives and assists in identifying the causal links and performance indicators at each stage of the resulting chain; thus, input - process - output - outcome - impact. The log frame obliges as a useful tool practically during implementation to take corrective actions and review progress (World Bank, 2004).
It is worth noting that a series of “if-then” relationships as shown in Figure 3.1 links the components of the logic model and underpins the vertical logic of the log frame: If resources are available to the programme, the programme activities can be implemented; if programme activities are implemented successfully, then
Figure 3.1 The “if-then” relationship that underpins the vertical logic of the log frame.
Source: Crawford et al., 2003
specific outputs and outcomes can be expected (Crawford, & Bryce, 2003; Gage & Dunn, 2009). Similar to a conceptual framework, the logic framework focuses on the project inputs, activities and results. This narrow focus assists programme managers and M&E planners as they clarify the direct relationships among elements of interest in a project (Gage & Dunn, 2009). It appears therefore that the logical framework concerns itself with assumptions that link project deliverables and cannot guarantee the desired project outcome owing to the complex and dynamic nature of the construction industry and the over-reliance on assumptions. Projects are unique to environment, stakeholders and beneficiaries and, as such, defy logic to achieve success.
Results frameworks are also referred to in literature as strategic frameworks. A strategic framework establishes the direct relationship that exists or is expected to exist between the intermediate results of activities all the way to the overall objectives and goals. USAID (2013) indicated that strategic frameworks show the causal relationship between programme objectives and outline how each of the intermediate results/outputs and outcomes relates to and facilitates the achievement of each objective and how objectives relate to each other and the ultimate goal. Results frameworks form the basis for M&E activities at the objective level (Frankel & Gage, 2007). They ask questions of how we want the process to proceed at the initial stages of M&E, what the expectations are and, finally, why we want them.
It is obviously impossible to describe a project as successful if the project outcome or result is not laid bare. As the name suggests, a results framework (RF) presents an understanding of how the key programme objectives are achieved. The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) (2012) defines a results framework as a clear presentation (graphic display, matrix or summary) of the different levels or chains of results expected from an intervention, project, programme or development strategy. The World Bank also defines a results framework as a representation of the causal logic that describes how the objective of a project is to be achieved. This is accomplished by translating the results chain of intervention into indicators that measure the degree to which inputs are being changed into specific activities and outputs and the degree to which the anticipated outcomes of the project are relevant to the target population (World Bank, 2013).
The results framework builds on the causal logic, that is, the cause and effect concept to achieve results. That is, if a lower objective is accomplished successfully, it will affect the next higher objective which will, in turn, affect the next higher objective and so on. The accomplishment of all the specific objectives from the lower to the highest will therefore ensure the achievement of project success. The RF therefore indicates how the ultimate goal is being achieved immediately once the first objective has been accomplished (IEG, 2012). This provides the M&E team with early warning signs of project progress relating to schedule, cost, quality and satisfaction and where interventions are required to
Modified behavior, conditions, situation for population, communities, businesses, or organizations resulting from program outputs
Tasks undertaken to produce outputs
Products and services delivered
■ Staff trained
■ Improved performance of utilities
- Increased water production capacity
Improved access to quality water services
Improved health outcomes Increased economic growth
Figure 3.2 Results chain depicting how inputs are translated to achieve project outcomes.
Source: Adapted from the World Bank, 2013
address any challenge. Again, the results framework gives clarity to the theory of change, that is, it gives reasons why the programme will lead to the output and why the output will lead to an immediate and intermediate outcome, and further, why the outcome will lead to the long-term impact (goal) of the project with respect to a specific time frame (1EG, 2012).
The 1EG (2012) postulates that the focus of the results framework is the outcome and impact of a project with minimal recognition to output. However, inputs and activities are not emphasized. This presents a conceptual results chain of output, outcome and impact, which is accompanied by a comprehensive plan for progress monitoring for impact through the measurement of output, outcome and impact at different intervals of the project life cycle (IEG, 2012). See Figure 3.2.
Results frameworks harness the resources available to achieve the desired results by engaging the inputs (the financial human and material resources used for development intervention) in the activities (actions taken through which inputs are mobilized to produce specific outputs) to generate outputs (the products, capital goods and services that result from development processes). The outputs generated therefore result in outcomes (the short-term and medium-term effects of a process’s output) that produce a corresponding impact (actual or intended changes). Planning is an important feature of the results framework as everything will be subject to planning right from the onset of the process.