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Outcome Mapping Practitioner Guide

An interconnected network of stakeholders replacing the project implementation team

A well established and interconnected network of stakeholders can replace a project team … or representatives of boundary partner organisations can form the project team.

Author: Corinne Sprecher

Published: Tuesday 16 September 2014

While planning a support project to a regional hospital in Bhutan we encountered a peculiar situation: in the project setting there was no project team in the traditional sense of the term, i.e. a team that on temporary basis is present to induce a change. There were five stakeholder organizations: The central Health Ministry, the regional administration, the hospital, the local leaders, a local civil society organization defending interests of citizens.

In the project planning we discussed about the vision, the mission of the project, the boundary partners, outcome challenges; we defined outcomes and outputs. Responsibilities were attributed to different stakeholders. For three steps of the OM process we found an interesting challenge: While the outcome challenges could be clearly attributed to boundary partners, the support strategy and the organizational practice (that both concern the project team) appeared in a new light. Since there was no project team to be responsible to develop a support strategy and an organizational practice, all stakeholders together were challenged to develop a network structure and to develop support strategies and an organizational practice all together in order to respond to all the outcome challenges of the different stakeholders. The challenge was to support each other and not to expect all this from an (externally financed) project.

Said in other words, the representatives of the different stakeholder groups realized that they had to form a project team together and to take a shared responsibility right from the beginning of the project. This is a paradigmatic change compared to the “traditional” external project support with an (often last minute) exit strategy at the end of a project period.

Choose the “entry-strategy” at the beginning to avoid the “exit-strategy” at the end: A well interconnected network of stakeholders can replace the project team.

In this example, as well as in projects in rural development in Switzerland, Outcome Mapping proved very helpful in clarifying intentions, roles and responsibilities in project planning, even though there was no typical set up having a distinct project team and boundary partners. The examples underline the flexibility of OM: the approach can be successfully adapted and used – even if a fundamental concept such as the distinction of the project team and boundary partners feels inadequate at first sight!

This nugget was applied in: A support project to a regional hospital in Bhutan & development projects in Switzerland

Related Practitioner Guide sections:

Latin America & Carribean Sub-Saharan Africa North Africa & Middle East South Asia South East Asia & Pacific Far-East Asia Eastern Europe & CIS (ex USSR) Western Europe North America & Canada Australasia