Introducing the Logical Framework in Project Planning–Part 4


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 fourth part of this chapter discusses the fourth Critical Strategic Question.

1.    How Do We Get There?

The Outcomes described in the first column are also called deliverables, and they are nouns.   How do we get these Outcomes?   By doing activities, which are verbs.   

This is normally what people think of as Project Planning, the breakdown of deliverables into the activities to produce them.   This is the last element, however, of Strategic Project Planning.    Here’s an analogy to distinguish Strategic Project Planning and Project Planning:   Project Planning is where you construct a ladder to get to your Outcome, with the rungs on the ladder being the activities you need to perform in order to get to the top of the ladder.   Strategic Project Planning is where you strategically place the ladder so that it is up against the correct wall.  In too many projects, as in life itself, more attention is paid on climbing the ladder than on figuring out where the ladder is against the right wall.    With Strategic Project Planning, you know that your efforts to get to the top are going to take you to the right place!

2.  The Fourth Critical Strategic Question and the LogFrame Matrix

Objectives

Success Measures

Verification

Assumptions

Goal

Measures of Goal Achievement

Verification of

Measures of Goal Achievement

Goal

Assumptions

Purpose

Purpose Measures

Verification of

Purpose Measures

Purpose

Assumptions

Outcomes

 

Outcome Measures

Verification of

Outcome Measures

Outcomes

Assumptions

Inputs

How?

 

Who?  Where?

 

When?

The answers to the fourth critical strategic question are placed in the row at the bottom of the first three rows.  The first column, the Objectives of the project, are the answers to the first critical strategic question; the second and third columns, the Success Measures and their Verification, are the answers to the second critical strategic question; the fourth column, the Assumptions, are the answers to the third critical strategic question.

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. then the fourth column,  by answering the third critical strategic question, and then you finish by filling out the fourth row under the first three rows by answering the fourth critical strategic question.   Thus the LogFrame Matrix takes you visually through the journey through these all four critical strategic questions.

3.  CONCLUSION

The four critical strategic questions 

1.  What Are We Trying To Accomplish And Why?  (Objectives)

2.  How Will We Measure Success?  (Measures and Verifications)

3.  What Other Conditions Must Exist? (Assumptions)

4.  How Do We Get There?  (Inputs)

are captured visually in the LogFrame Matrix, and thus it allows you to create in real-time at a kickoff meeting a strategic map, which you construct starting in the following way:

–from the Outcomes, moving up to the Purpose, and Goal (collectively referred to as the Objectives)

–from the Objectives, moving to the right to the Success Measures and their Verifications

–from the Objectives, moving all the way to the right to the Assumptions

–from the Outcomes, moving down to the Inputs

There will be several linkages created, both horizontally, vertically, and diagonally (the Inputs plus the Assumptions in the Outcomes column will yield the Outcomes, the Outcomes plus the Assumptions in the Purpose column will yield the Purpose, the Purpose plus the Assumptions in the Goal column will yield the Goal).    Thus it ties together into a single Logical Framework.

In the same way that you create a Logical Framework for a single project, you can create a Logical Framework for a group of projects that tie them together into a single project, or a group of projects into a portfolio.   That is the subject of the fourth chapter of Strategic Project Management Made Simple, and will be summarized in the next series of posts.

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