Logical Framework Approach /ZOPP /OOPP

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Logical Framework Approach, ZOPP, and OOPP - What and Why

The two terms Logical Framework (LF or Logframe) and the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) are sometimes confused. The LogFrame is a document, the Logical Framework Approach is a project design methodology.

Note: For most purposes the three terms; Logical Framework Approach, ZOPP and OOPP are terms for the same project design methodology or process. The terms OOPP and ZOPP mean respectively; Objectives Oriented Project Planning and in German Ziel Orientierte Projek Planung. All three terms refer to a structured meeting process which we will refer to as LFA.

The logical framework document is a 4 column by 4 row matrix. The cells of the matrix contain text that succinctly describes the most important features of a project. If the correct process (LFA) was used to develop the content of the logframe, the document will reveal the quality of the design and make flaws readily apparent. (Follow this link for a detailed explanation of the Logical Framework document - often referred to as the "Project Matrix")

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The LFA as a design methodology is described briefly on this page. The design methodology is a rigorous process, which if used as intended by the creators will impose a logical discipline on the project design team. If the process is used with integrity the result will be a high quality project design. The method is not without it's limitations, but most of these can be avoided with carefull use of ancilliary techniques. Many things can go wrong in the implementation phase of a project, but if the design is flawed, implementation starts with a severe handicap. The mind map diagram at the top of this page shows typical steps in the design process. The first few steps are:

  • situation analysis

  • stakeholder analysis

  • problems analysis

We might note that one common misuse of the logframe is to design the project first and attempt to "fill in" the logical framework matrix as an after thought. This defeats the whole purpose of the logical framework and the design methodology. 

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Where's the logic?

There is a logical connection between the cells of the matrix. The logic that connects the cells in the left most column, is referred to as the vertical logic; the logic that connects the remaining three columns is referred to as the horizontal logic.

The vertical logic is the hierarchy of objectives of the project. 

The horizontal logic is rather more involved. For a given level of objective (equivalent to a horizontal row of cells) the horizontal logic describes:

  • how the achievement of the objective will be measured or verified

  • how this information will be obtained

  • what are the external factors that could prevent the project manager and staff from achieving the next level objective.

Situation Analysis

This is a document that describes the situation surrounding the problem. The source could be a feasibility study, a pre-appraisal report, or be a compilation done specifically for the project design workshop. Typically the document describes the problem situation in detail, identifies the stakeholders and describes the effects of the problems on them. 

Stakeholder or Participation Analysis

This stage is an analysis of the people, groups, or organizations who may influence or be influenced by the problem or a potential solution to the problem. This is the first step to understanding the problem. We might say,  without people or interest groups there would be no problem. So to understand the problem, we must first understand the stakeholders. The objectives of this step are to reveal and discuss the interest and expectations of persons and groups that are important to the success of the project.

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Problem Analysis

If there is no agreement between participants on the statement of the problem, it is unlikely there will be agreement on the solution.  This stage therefore seeks to get consensus on the detailed aspects of the problem.

The first procedure in problem analysis is brainstorming. All participants are invited to write their problem ideas on small cards. (approximately 8 in by 4 in.) The participants may write as many cards as they wish. The participants then group the cards or look for cause-effect relationship between the themes on the cards by arranging the cards to form a problem tree. 

Objectives Analysis

In this step the problem statements are converted into objective statements and if possible into an objective tree. Just as the problem tree shows cause-effect relationships, the objective tree shows means-end relationships. The means-end relationships show the means by which the project can achieve the desired ends or future desirable conditions. Frequently there are many possible areas that could be the focus of an "intervention" or development project. The next step addresses those choices.

Alternatives Analysis

The objective tree usually shows the large number of possible strategies or means-end links that could contribute to a solution to the problem. Since there will be a limit to the resources that can be applied to the project, it is necessary for the  participants to examine these alternatives and select the most promising strategy. After selection of the decision criteria, these are applied in order to select one or more means-end chains to become the set of objectives that will form the project strategy.

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Activities Planning

After defining the objectives, and specifying how they will be measured (OVIs) and where and how that information will be found (MOVs) we get to the detailed planning phase. We now determine what activities are required to achieve each objective. 

Where to start?

This is a little like the chicken and the egg problem. It is tempting to say; always start at the situation analysis stage, and from there determine who are the stakeholders. Another argument is that the stakeholders define the problem so it is necessary to start with identifying the stakeholders. Each problem situation will require a different approach.

Where to go next?

The next step will be implementation planning and implementation.

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