The RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach and project management for policy change

The RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach and project management for policy change

Article – ODI Opinions 153, August 2011

Authors: Arnaldo Pellini

Ramalingam et al. (2008), describe development plans, strategies and goal setting as ‘attempts to picture how things work in that country and provide an illusion of control’. The reality, however, is that development is not a straight input-output-outcome-impact motorway, but a road with curves and crossings in a changing landscape.

Linear logic, however, remains attractive as we tend to define rules and simplify reality so that the world seems less random than it actually is (Taleb, 2008). Project management approaches help to simplify reality and, if their limitations are recognised, can be useful in implementing development strategies.

This ODI Opinion examines policy research and argues that project management can actually help, rather than hinder, researchers in efforts to manage policy influencing projects effectively. I show how this can be achieved by combining project management principles and processes with the RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach.

2 thoughts on “The RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach and project management for policy change”

  1. Eric bergthold

    Interesting Arnaldo. Art vs. Science must factor in. I find most project management is about managing and controlling inputs and outputs. I know you’re trying to move towards outcomes, but I still see the fundamental framework there. How do you produce outcome X?

    1. Hi Eric, thank you for your comment. I think that one way is to consider a project completed only when there are outcomes that can be observed and documented. ROMA helps to identify changes in perception, attitudes, and behaviors of policy makers and decision makers. The documentation and learning of the project should involve tools such as qualitative research that will help to document whether outcomes have been achieved or not.

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