Even so, the projects tend to follow a traceable pattern that will help us understand them better:

  • Problem statement:  This statement ensures that the issues that need to be addressed are well articulated and understood by all involved before anything can commence.
  • Aims: A shortened desired outcomes and impact of the project. This could be even include smart aims/ objectives for clarity’s sake
  • Change model/ logic model/ unpinning principles: the theories of change that inform the project design. A theory of change should offer an explanation of how the programme brings about desired changes in the participants. It explores the logic, which drives the desired change in individuals or systems. The theory of change should specify both short-term outcomes and long-term goals for the programme, explore the intended effect on the participants and beyond context of the programme.
  • Scope: boundaries of the project, designated target beneficiaries and their numbers, length of project, dosage interventions, financial planning and any regulatory constraints
  • Risks or barriers: factors that may affect programme success and strategies to address these.
  • Resources: necessary stakeholders, human resources for implementation, physical and technical resources, budget.
  • Implementation planning: all the elements that go into the implementation, management of resources, logistics, time frames and the reporting cycles.
  • Communication planning: communication with stakeholders and participants, recording and reporting and communicating project learnings to a wider audience.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation/ Success indicators:  how progress towards outcomes and impacts will be measured during and after the project.
  • Sustainability/ Replication: strategies to sustain, massif or institutionalize the intervention.

Key lesson; good project design plays a vital role in (i) keeping all the different elements of the project on track and (iii) providing a template within which all the project elements can be monitored, evaluated and their successes and failures described.

Key lessons on Project Planning

  • A good problem statement helps to formulate the aims and desired outcomes of a project.
  • In most projects the underpinning change models were closely linked to project design elements. The more explicit these are, the easier it is to monitor progress, make design changes if required and ascertain the level of achievement the project represents.
  • Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms need to be built into the project from the start so that accurate data can be collected for final evaluation purposes. Adjustments to design or implementation can be made during the project life if required. In addition, there are monitoring and evaluation instruments, which are developed for post-programme evaluation, in order to confirm or analyse project outcomes.
  • Design the project outcomes.
  • Design of data collection instrument needs to be fit-for-purpose.
  • Where design elements are missing, projects become more difficult to monitor, which then makes it difficult to intercede to fix problems as they happen.
  • Project scope may need to change due to contextual factors.

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