Introducing the Logical Framework in Project Planning–Part 2


This is a series of notes on Terry Schmidt’s book Strategic Project Management Made Simple, which adds the Logical Framework Approach to traditional project management in order to facilitate strategic planning.    The third chapter of his book is called “Introducing the Logical Framework”; it takes the Four Critical Strategic Questions discussed in chapter 2, and shows they are captured visually in the Logical Framework or LogFrame.   The second part of this chapter discusses the second Critical Strategic Question.

1.   How Will We Measure Success?

In the first question, “What are We Trying to Accomplish and Why?”, you decide what the Outcomes of the project are (what it is the project will create), what the Purpose of the project is (what business need will it fulfill), and what the Goal of the project is (how it will profit the organization).

Goal

Purpose

Outcomes

 

The second question takes each of these elements and asks, “How Will We Measure Success?”   In other words, at the end of the project, how will we be able to definitively that the project was or was not a success.    These metrics for success are the conditions that you will expect to exist when you declare the Outcomes achieved.    The three most frequent metrics are in terms of

  • Quantity or Cost
  • Quality
  • Time

For the Goal of the company, delivering a project within budget, on schedule, and with a specified level of quality are the general measures of success.    For the Purpose of the company, you need to describe the metric to describe the changes that will occur because of the project.    For the Outcomes of the project, you need to describe the performance specifications as to what the completed deliverables will look like.

After figuring out what the Success Measures are, you need to consider how you will verify those metrics when the project is done.   This is important, because you may need to set up a data source now to use as a baseline before the project starts so that you can compare it to another set of data after the project is done.   For example, let’s say your project is going to introduce a new marketing campaign for an already existing product, and that your Success Measure is “increase sales of the product by 10% within 6 months of the launching of the new marketing campaign.”   Your verification will probably be “sales records”, but if you just check the sales records 6 months after the new marketing campaign is done, you won’t be able to tell whether there was a 10% increase or not.   You will have to set up the sales record baseline at the time the new marketing campaign is launched, in order to be able to set a baseline against which you will measure the sales increase 6 months down the line.

2.  The Second Critical Strategic Question and the LogFrame Matrix

Objectives

Success Measures

Verification

Goal

Measures of Goal Achievement

Verification of

Measures of Goal Achievement

Purpose

Purpose Measures

Verification of

Purpose Measures

Outcomes

 

Outcome Measures

Verification of

Outcome Measures

The answers to the second critical strategic question are placed in the two columns to the right of the Objectives of the project, which as you may recall from the previous post, are the answers to the first critical strategic question.   The success measures are put in the column to the right of the Objectives, and the verification of the success measures are put in the column to the right of the Success Measures.

Thus you fill out the matrix with the first column, then the second column and third column, by answering the first and then second critical strategic question.    Thus the LogFrame Matrix takes you visually through the journey through these two critical strategic question, and the comparison between the right column and the left column allows you to check to see on the Objectives.    If you can’t come up with Measures that are specific enough, it is probably because the Objectives are not specific enough.

If you decide to take an outing on Sunday to a place which all the family will enjoy, you cannot put the phrase “someplace nice” into your GPS and expect it to come up with a specific destination you can go to.   You have to come up with a place that fits the criterion for “nice” with every member of the family, and each person may have a different definition of what that means.    In a similar way, you have to come up with a definition of success that is specific enough that, once the Objectives are met, everybody can agree that the project was successful.

3.  Conclusion

The LogFrame matrix is just a visual way of representing the linkages between the answers to the four Critical Strategic Questions.     The answers to the first two Critical Strategic Questions fill the top three boxes of the first, second and third columns of the LogFrame matrix (except for the very topmost box, which is for the labels “Objectives”, “Measures for Success” and “Verification” for the various columns).

The next post will cover the answers to the third Critical Strategic Question and where they are placed in the LogFrame matrix.

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2 Responses

  1. Great job of summarizing a fresh approach to PM. And I’d enjoy your comments even if I wasn’t the author of the book you are reviewing!

    Let me add one thing to the concept of Success Measures, and that is Means of Verification. At the time you consider measures think about how to verify. Unless you have a sufficiently accurate, inexpensive, and hassle-free wait of verifying the status of your chosen measures, it’s hard to stay on track.

    Measurement is easiest at lower elements of the LogFrame hierarchy — inputs and outcomes. But the purpose and goal levels are where the action is!

    • Terry:

      Thanks, I forgot about the verification column, which also is in response to the second Critical Strategic Question. I have gone ahead and revised the post accordingly.

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