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Outcome Mapping Practitioner Guide

Combining Logframe with Outcome Mapping (OM) & Theory of Change (ToC)

MDF Pacific Indonesia uses the logframe approach to design a programme and uses Outcome Mapping combined with the Theory of Change approach to unpack the logframe by identifying actors in the programme and developing progress markers and pathways of change

Author: Ch. Endah Nirarita

Published: Monday 22 September 2014

Combining Outcome Mapping with Theory of Change to improve monitoring from Outcome Mapping on Vimeo.

The logframe is usually not-actor centred as it is developed through a problem tree analysis (see ZOPP). We have used OM to unpack the logframe by identifying the actors in the program such as the implementing team, the boundary partners, boundary partners of boundary partners, end beneficiaries, strategic partners and other relevant actors. We used a visualization as shown in annex 1 (example ADRRN programme).

The participants then discussed the expected changes of each actor in order to contribute to the vision. This ideal behaviour of the actors represents the Outcome Challenges of the project. The result of this exercise is then visualized in the Theory of Change model as presented in annex 2: Domain of changes. Domain of changes is similar to outcome challenges in OM. However, in the ToC the main domain of changes may not always change in boundary partners, but also change in the end beneficiaries, other stakeholders as well as changes in system or structure.  



The next step is to develop the progress markers which is similar as developing pathways of change (in ToC). Based on my experience, it is easier to use the ladder of changes (annex 3a) to develop the progress marker, but we can also use the pathways of change (annex 3b).


Similar to testing the hypotheses in ToC (annex 4), this ladder of changes can also be used to test the assumptions and preconditions in the steps of the ToC. These can be used to identify support required by the boundary partner to change from one progress marker to the next (annex 4) which provides directions to identify support strategies. The identified support can then be arranged in the strategy map to check whether all necessary strategies (direct, indirect, causal, persuasive, supportive) have been identified. It is important not to limit the support based only on the capability or mandate of the implementing team. Other support can also be provided by other actors/stakeholder.


What’s the added value of this approach?

The benefit of developing the actor mapping (chains of actors) based on the existing logframe is to better understand the distance between the implementing team and the end beneficiaries. Realization about the actual change that the implementing team wants to bring about (or contribute to) at the level of the end beneficiaries through its project interventions, may require a shift of strategy, or setting more realistic targets for the projects’ results (outputs, outcomes, and impacts). The chain of actors maps the relationship between all actors in the program which together with the domain of changes (ToC) enables the project team to consider the project’s position in a broader context, which may trigger collaboration with other project(s) or other stakeholder(s).

The combination of the use of progress markers (ladder of change) and the hypothesis testing of the ToC is very good to ensure that the implementing team considers the assumptions / preconditions for the changes (the progress marker), and to identify the support necessary for promoting these changes. Testing assumptions/precondition of changes is the main contribution of ToC to OM.

Challenges of using this piece of OM

The use of the ladder of change as an analogy for consecutive changes reflected by the progress markers, may not be acceptable to some OM practitioners who are concerned about linearity. However, this analogy is easier to understand and also more systematic in identifying assumptions, preconditions and necessary support. Another problem with the ladder of change is that it only caters for one aspect of the change, while in reality, change towards the Outcome challenge may require various aspect of changes (often in parallel mode) at the level of the boundary partners. In this case using multiple-steps ladder will also help (Annex 3a).

Take-home messages

It is important to stress at the beginning that development is about the change of behaviour of different actors, working at different levels. To assess an existing program designed by a logframe is best done through project reconstruction by identifying the actors and expected (ideal) behaviours of those actors to contribute to desired changes.

Defining the ideal behaviour of all relevant actors is also useful to assess the big picture of the programme. It shows the need for collaboration and reveals the preconditions for change of behaviour of a particular actor (boundary partner) which might require changes in other actors (for example: availability of policy support by other stakeholder).

Differentiating Outputs (deliverables of the project), Outcomes (defined as: the use of outputs, behaviour change of target groups and benefit for end beneficiaries) and Impact (wider impact of the program in terms of social, economic, political and environmental changes) is also useful to assess the extent of the project influence, and to cross-check the logframe after the completion of this enrichment process with OM and ToC.

This nugget was applied in: Results Based Trainings in MDF Asia, Indonesia and the improvement of the monitoring framework of ADRRN

Related Practitioner Guide sections:

Associated resources:

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