This article provides a practical explanation of the Logframes and the Logical Framework Approach. After reading, you’ll understand more about this project management proces. It’s goal is to support a structured and systematic analysis of a project or programme idea through a series of interlocking concepts that are used as part of an iterative process.
What are Logframes?
The Logframes and Logical Framework Approach, is an analytical process that stands for project or programme planning, monitoring, and evaluation. The associated ‘logframe matrix’ serves as a discrete planning and monitoring tool for projects and programmes. Logframe matrices are developed during project/programme design and assessment phases are subsequently updated during implementation. It is also an essential source for evaluation.
There is a clear distinction between the Logical Framework Approach and Logical Framework Matrix. The first refers to the steps involved in planning and designing a project. These steps include a stakeholder analysis, cause-effect analysis, objective analysis, and alternative analysis with the focus on the design of the project. The matrix comprises the final design of the project, which usually consists of 16 frames organised under 4 main sections.
The problem solving should be seen as a ‘tool for thinking’. It allows information to be analysed and organised in a structured way. As a result, important questions can be asked and weaknesses can be identified. Decision-makers can thus make informed decisions based on a better understanding of the project reasons, the intended objectives, and the means by which objectives are achieved.
Why the Logframes and the Logical Framework Approach?
A logframe matrix (logframe) within the LFA theory forms the basis of an effective work plan to guide implementation through the life cycle of a project/programme. Logframe matrices help directly identify the development trajectory for achieving goals, identify potential risks to achieving goals, determine how best to monitor and evaluate output and results, summarise activity in a standard format, and suggest activities during implementation.
For the preparation of LFM, knowledge of the principles of problem areas and skills involved in programming and design is important. In addition, the implementation and management of development projects as well. This also applies to all other non-governmental organisations, local self-governments, and consultancy firms involved in project preparation, implementation, and management. These guidelines are also intended to provide instructions for developing a Logical Framework Matrix in the various phases of the project management cycle, in order to improve both the consistency and quality of project documents in the different phases of the project cycle.
The Logical Framework Approach helps to:
- analyse an existing situation, including the identification of stakeholder needs and the definition of related objectives;
- establish a causal link between input, activities, results, the goal, and the general objective (vertical logic);
- identify potential risks to achieving goals and purpose;
- establish a system for monitoring and evaluating project performance;
- establish a communication and learning process between stakeholders.
The Logical Framework Approach
The Logical Framework Approach consists of two phases that are used in the identification and formulation of projects: 1. Analysis Phase and 2. Planning Phase. These two phases are carried out gradually during the identification and formulation of the project, in order to ensure quality of the design and therefore its implementation, as well as ex-post evaluation. The two most important phases of the problem areas can be summarised in the table below:
The analysis phase must be carried out as an iterative learning process. Although a stakeholder analysis must be carried out early in the process, it must be reviewed and refined when new questions are asked and new information is revealed. In the planning phase, the results of the analysis are converted into a practical, operational plan that is ready to be implemented. It is the phase in which the project is technically designed. This phase is again an iterative process, as it may be necessary to review and revise the scope of project activities and expected results as soon as resource and budget implications become more apparent.
Logical Framework Matrix
The results of the logical framework analysis are presented and further analysed in the Logframe matrix. The matrix more or less provides a summary of the project, down to activity level.
The Logframe matrix consists of a matrix with four columns and four (or more) rows, in which the most important elements of a project are summarised, namely:
- The project hierarchy of objectives (Project Description or Project Intervention Logic);
- The project environment and important external factors that are crucial for the success of the project (assumptions);
- How the results of the project are monitored and evaluated (Indicators and sources of verification). It also provides the basis on which the required resources (inputs) and costs (budget) are determined.
It is recommended to use the logbook frame as a basis for the funding application and also for the entire project life cycle to track progress and just to changing situations. It may be used to assess assumptions and implications and to keep donors and other stakeholders informed of important changes.
In the context of programming IPA funds, LFM represents the integral part of the Project Sheet—the main document required for project identification.
A logical framework (or logframe) consists of a matrix with four columns and four or more rows that summarise the most important elements of the project plan, including:
The project hierarchy of objectives. The first column contains the development path or intervention logic of the project. (How an objective or results will be achieved). Each goal or result must be explained by the goal or result immediately below. Although different donors use different terminology, a Logframe usually summarises the following in the first column:
- The objective/general objective/development objective
- The goal/immediate objective
- The outputs
- The activities
The second and third columns summarise how the performance of the project is monitored and consists of the following:
- Indicators – a quantitative or qualitative measurement that offers a reliable way to measure changes related to an intervention. Essentially ‘a description of the project objectives in terms of quantity, quality, target group(s), time, and place’.
- Verification sources – Describes the information sources required for compiling data with which indicators can be calculated.
Finally, the last column contains the following:
- Assumptions – the external factors or circumstances beyond the direct control of the project that are necessary to ensure project success.
The Logframes and the Logical Framework Approach is a highly effective methodology for strategic planning and project management with broad application. It includes an integrated package of tools for analysing and solving planning problems and for designing and managing their solutions (the approach). The product of this analytical approach is the logframe (the matrix), which summarises what the project intends to do and how, what the most important assumptions are, and how output and outcomes are monitored and evaluated.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you think? Are you familiar with the explanation of the Logframes and the Logical Framework Approach? Do you have anything to add to this explanation? When do you think this approach is most effective? What do you believe are success factors that contribute to the practical application of this theory?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
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- Gasper, D. (2000). Evaluating the ‘logical framework approach’towards learning‐oriented development evaluation. Public administration and development, 20(1), 17-28.
- Gasper, D. (2000). Logical frameworks: Problems and potentials.
- Jackson, B. (1997). Designing projects and project evaluations using the logical framework approach. UCN Monitoring and Evaluation Inatiative, 26.
- Kerr, R. (2008). International development and the new public management: Projects and logframes as discursive technologies of governance. The new development management: Critiquing the dual modernization. London: Zed Books, 91-110.
- Roduner, D., Schläppi, W., & Egli, W. (2008). Logical Framework Approach and Outcome Mapping, A Constructive Attempt of Synthesis. Rural Development News, 2, 1-24.
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