A paper based on the Instructor's Resource Kit, Module 1, Managing the Implementation of Development Projects, by Jerry Brown under the direction of John Didier, World Bank Institute, Washington D.C., 1998. Robert Youker may be reached at bobyouker@worldnet.att.net
and John Didier at jdidier@worldbank.org.
Published here April 2003.

Abstract | Introduction | Hierarchy of Objectives | The Why-How Framework
Another Example | Strategic Alternatives | Horizontal Logic | Summary | Conclusions

Strategic Alternatives

Let's take another example to see how causative linkages transform inputs into outputs and results. Imagine we want to improve the income of farmers in a developing country. That is our policy objective. The benefit we want, and expect to achieve, is to increase farmer income by $x,xxx per year.

How can we achieve this policy objective? As conscientious analysts we should look at a number of options and decide on an approach that meets our preliminary feasibility criteria. In this case, let's assume we've decided that increasing rice production by 50% appears to be the most promising alternative? This becomes our strategic objective. We now need to think "operationally". Again, we drop one level in the hierarchy and ask ourselves: How are we going to obtain our strategic objective of increasing rice production? The answer will give us our project objective.

As conscientious planners we want to have a realistic, achievable project objective. This requires us to weigh various options before tentatively deciding on our project objective. For example, we might try to introduce new farming practices or we might try to bring additional land into production. In this case, let's say that after a rigorous preparation/analysis/feasibility process we decide that the introduction of a variety of new farming practices seems to offer the best solution. So we select that alternative as our project objective and add new farming practices to the hierarchy. That gives us the answer to how we will achieve the next higher-level objective of increasing rice production.

But how will we introduce the new farming practices? This will obviously take some thought, so again we consider our options and decide on an approach. How will we get farmers to decide to use new seeds and cultivation techniques? How will we introduce the new seed and other practices? We will give loans to buy the seeds and conduct extension programs. Eventually, we get to the lowest level in the hierarchy where we are dealing with basic inputs, i.e. our input objectives. For the rice project, these are people, money, seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, and knowledge.

In our illustration, we started at the very top and worked our way down. This is the logical approach but we could have started anywhere. For example, we could have started with the project objective and worked our way up by repeatedly asking ourselves "Why?" to given us the strategic and policy objectives. Then we could have worked our way down by asking "How?" until we reach the basic inputs at the bottom.

The order in which the hierarchy is traversed is not really so important, although many will find it easier to start at the top and work down. Most important is that the Why-How framework is carefully considered to ensure that the logic is not flawed.

Another Example  Another Example

Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page