Consultancy Services

A logical framework approach to project planning

In working with clients to develop a project initiative, I use the logical framework as a 'container' for a creative process. Using a logical framework approach is a powerful way to encourage innovative thinking, focus ideas, co-ordinate resources and pinpoint future difficulties and opportunities.  I provide training in 'Project planning using a logical framework approach' for Bond - for international development, and have written a brief 'How to guide' for Bond on the logical framework method.  

Used throughout the project cycle the approach facilitates coherent management, monitoring and evaluation scheduling, as well as being an excellent vehicle for an inclusive participatory planning process, provided it is used as a vehicle for a creative process with beneficiaries rather than as an organisational 'straight-jacket'.   

In my experience, sensitive and skilful facilitation in using the logical framework approach ensures that flexibility and transparency are maintained throughout the project life-cycle and encourages the building of responsive and responsible relationships and communications between all stakeholders, where each is encouraged to play a significant part, with equal rights and responsibilities, in relation to strategic decision-making and public reporting.

It is possible to make logical framework terminology very simple when working with beneficiaries for whom English is not their mother tongue.  For example, diverse stakeholder engagement can be encouraged through the use of simple ‘language’ such as imagery, myth and symbol to draw out the individual and collective visions, aspirations, capacities, expectations, actions and measurements of success - all required for comprehensive project planning.  

Appreciative Inquiry methods in particular lend themselves to use with the logical framework approach – see ‘SIDA - Logical Framework Approach – with an appreciative approach’, April 2006, SIDA Civil Society Centre.

I recognise that logical frameworks may be seen to promote inflexibility, but I have to wonder if this perception perhaps highlights a level of organisational inflexibility?  A logical framework is after all only a matrix; ‘a place in which a thing is developed’[1], a place of formation.  The word ‘matrix’ comes from ‘mother’ and is analogous to the womb.

The 'pros and cons' of using logical frameworks are discussed in 'The Use and Abuse of the Logical Framework Approach' by INTRAC

And for those who are interested, I have compiled 'A brief history of logical frameworks' and a list of logical framework web resources.  

[1] The Oxford Dictionary

I believe the logical framework can provide a flexible container for building respons-ive and respons-ible relations between all participants in a creative process, where each can play an equal part.
Diagram showing the 4 levels of a logical framework
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