Logframes and the Logical Framework Approach

Planning Robust, Coherent, Successful Projects

Logframes and the Logical Framework Approach

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In practice, even the best project managers can find it difficult to plan major projects without missing important activities, and without failing to spot all significant risks and issues.

What's more, once you're immersed in the detail of project planning, it's hard to keep site of the big picture: What are you trying to achieve and why? What are the risks and assumptions? And how you can tell whether the project is a success once it's implemented?

The Logical Framework Approach is a useful technique for helping you do these things, thereby making your projects more robust and coherent – and more successful.

The Logical Framework Approach (LFA) was developed in the 1970s as a tool for strategic planning, using the ideas of Management by Objectives  . It's a tool of choice used by development agencies and in the international donor community. Large aid organizations throughout the world use the LFA for planning, approving, evaluating and monitoring their projects. That said, this is a powerful and useful technique, and is one that richly deserves much wider application than in international development alone.

The Logical Framework Approach and the Logframe

The Logical Framework Approach elegantly weaves together top-down and bottom-up approaches to project management. It brings together the classical, top-down, "waterfall approach" for identifying the activities in a project, with a rigorous bottom-up checking process to make sure that these activity lists are comprehensive. It then reinforces this with a rigorous risks and assumptions analysis, which is again thoroughly checked. And it concludes by identifying the controls needed to monitor and manage the project through to successful conclusion.

It does this within the framework of the Logframe Matrix, shown in figure 1 below. This cross-references seven key areas of the project to ensure that the key questions are asked:

  • Goal – what results do we expect?
  • Purpose – why are we doing this?
  • Outputs – what are the deliverables?
  • Activities – what will we do to deliver the outputs?
  • Indicators of Achievement – how will we know we've been successful?
  • Means of Verification – how will we check our reported results?
  • Risks and Assumptions – what assumptions underlie the structure of our project and what is the risk they will not prevail?

The answers to these questions are put into a Logical Framework Matrix (Logframe) and become the output of the Logical Framework Analysis exercise. The Logframe is a four by four matrix, shown below:

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