Formulate the logical framework

Step 6 - Formulate the logframeNow it's time to put the information together in a logical framework.

  • First you decide on the project's logic (intervention logic). This is the first column of the logical framework, and you can use the information from your objectives tree to identify the general objectives or goals of your project (the things above the main problem), the specific objective or purpose (the main problem itself) and the expected results (the things below the main problem).
  • Then we jump to the far right column of the logframe, to identify the assumptions. These are the things that need to hold true in order for you to achieve your objectives.
  • Finally it's time to think about how you are going to follow-up the progress of your project and evaluate its results. You'll need indicators for monitoring and evaluation (second column) and verification sources that specify how, where and when you can find that information (third column).

You can establish the basic version of your logframe during the workshop with your stakeholders. During the workshop, focus on getting the main ideas right and clear for everybody. Afterwards, you can put everything in nice sentences.



Identify the project logic

You now have the basic information needed to establish the project’s logic – meaning the first column of the logical framework.

Generally the core problem, rephrased as an objective, becomes the purpose (or specific objective) of your project. This is the main reason why you started the project; the thing that you most urgently want to solve.

The solution of the core problem contributes (in the long run) to the solution of a problem in the larger society. This is the long term goal (or general objective) your project contributes to. Sometimes a project contributes to the solution of several issues that exist within that particular context and society.

The cards in the objective tree that were placed below the core problem/purpose – and that are part of the selected strategy – become the outputs and activities. The outputs are the concrete things the team and beneficiaries will achieve during the life of the project. When the outputs are combined, the project’s purpose should be achieved.

To achieve each output, you’ll need a process that generally includes several activities. To do the activities, the project needs a number of means (inputs), such as staff, transport, tools, equipment, ICT, training, building materials, seeds… These come at a price, so now is a good time to get an indication of how much this all will cost.

The information from the objectives tree is necessary to develop the logical framework, but generally it takes some tinkering to perfect the logframe. Maybe some outputs and activities may have to be added. Or maybe the scope of the purpose has to be redefined, to make its achievement more realistic. During the workshop, make sure the project’s basic logic is sound.

Identify risks and assumptions with your stakeholders

Because the problem tree has given you an insight in the relationship between different issues, it allows you to see what things may influence your main strategy and the achievement of your purpose. However, there may also be other elements that were not identified in the problem tree: generally you’ll find the elements that come from the context or environment. You also have to take into account other risks such as financial risks, practical or operational risks, and organisational risks.

  1. List the risks/assumptions
  2. Eliminate those that are not important
  3. Try to assess what the probability is that each risk occurs
    • If the risk is very likely to occur and the impact on the project is grave (it is doubtful you can achieve the project), then you have to redesign your project to eliminate or significantly reduce this risk. If this is not possible you should really think again about doing the project.
    • If the risk is likely to occur and the impact is important, but not life threatening, you should include it in the logframe and monitor the risk. If possible, you should try to influence the risk.
    • If the impact of the risk is low, you shouldn’t include it into the logframe.
  4. Identify whether the risk is a threat to one of the different outputs or to the achievement of the project’s purpose itself. Other risks may threaten the sustainability of the results of the project, and therefore its long term impact and contribution to the solution of some of the society’s problems.


Indicators and their sources of verification

The next step in the workshop is to identify the indicators. There are a number of advantages to formulating the indicators with the whole group:

  1. People that are closer to the field and the actual problems will know better how you can see that the situation improves. With the group, you can find better indicators.
  2. It is easier to find useful indicators, that can effectively be monitored.

When a project manager tries to identify indicators on his own, he or she will have a tendency to create indicators that can be expressed in numbers, such as the income per household to measure improved welfare. However, in the field it may be very difficult to get such a number, because people often don’t have a notion of how money they earn. Besides, no-one likes to talk about how much they earn, do they? With a group you will be able to come up with indicators that are more easily measured. For instance whether people can afford to send their children to school, or if they can afford to improve their house or pay for transport.

When the indicators are identified, the group should check for each indicator:

  • What information is needed
  • Who should give/find that information
  • In what form

If the indicator cannot be readily measured and verified, it should be replaced or dropped altogether.