The Logical Framework (or Logframe) is a methodology for designing, monitoring, and evaluating undertakings. Pioneered by the U.S. Agency for International Development and used by many organizations, MetaMetrics staff have used the Logframe in international and U.S. federal projects.
By understanding a program’s components and their relationships, the Logframe identifies the key elements that will support program success, including the measures by which it will be monitored.
The Logframe takes the form of a matrix, as shown in Figure 1.
The rows (categories) represent a hierarchy of accomplishment. Categories stand in “If-Then” relationships to one another. Achievements in each category contribute to and are necessary for the achievements in the category above it.
The columns capture descriptions and conditions associated with each level of accomplishment.
HIERARCHY OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
The goal is the aim or end toward which the project purpose is directed. A goal may be a condition or a problem to be addressed. An entire program may be directed toward the achievement of the goal. Generally, a goal is achieved not by one project alone, but through a portfolio of projects.
The purpose is the overall objective which the project is designed to achieve. The achievement of the purpose should contribute directly to the achievement of the goal. For instance, a project purpose could be to reduce client dependency on drugs and alcohol, while the goal may be to reduce client recidivism.
Project outputs are the specific outcomes to be produced by means of the project inputs. Outputs may be quantitative (e.g. number of clients in progress) qualitative (e.g. development of more effective counseling practices), and attitudinal (e.g. increased awareness of community agencies with supporting services). Project activities are components of the outputs, though it is the specific end results which are properly termed outputs.
Inputs are the materials and resources available to produce the project outputs. Inputs include personnel, equipment, training, facilities, technical assistance, and funds for contracted services.
DESCRIPTIONS AND CONDITIONS
Objectively Verifiable Indicators
These are targets and measures that express the level of achievement within each of the four rows of the Logframe matrix. Indicators enable assessment of project performance.
Means of Verification
The types and sources of data needed to support the indicators enable the project to identify indicators that are, in fact, measurable. Sources can include documents, organizations from which data can be collected, monitoring and reporting systems, and surveys. (Activities to operate a reporting system or conduct surveys should be included as project outputs.)
The assumptions are the significant external factors or conditions essential to successful project implementation. The assumptions refer to conditions or constraints over which the project personnel have no control. There are normally different assumptions for each level of the project. For instance, goal assumptions may include conditions of political and community support for the project; input assumptions could include the availability of qualified staff and funding provided on a timely basis.
We can see how the Logframe can be applied by breaking down Noah’s project to build an ark. This illustration is adapted from Managementpro.com, Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams by Terry Schmidt, John Wiley & Sons, 2009.