Managing Project & Strategic Objectives


with Logframe Analysis and

the Logical Framework



By Dr. Kenneth Smith, PMP

Honolulu, Hawaii

& Manila, The Philippines

For the past 50 years, Logframe Analysis (LFA) has been the core technique, and the related Logical Framework the Best Practice tool within the international development community[2] for planning, monitoring and evaluating economic and social development projects.  The logframe approach links projects with their strategic objectives during the initiation and planning phases; identifies the project’s indicators and targets – as well as their data sources — for monitoring & reporting progress during implementation; and thereafter is the basis for assessing post-project performance.  Exposition of the Logframe technique and tool is presented here as a possible enhancement to private sector strategic planning and management practices.

Projects are the means by which organizations — in consonance with their strategic objectives — attempt to address the perceived needs of their clientele to improve current situations.  But projects are not the product of individual thought and effort, nor fully-formed at conception.  Usually, a long gestation period precedes a project’s actualization, during which time multiple stakeholders — given their respective perspectives — contribute to redefining its objectives, target beneficiaries and costs vs benefits; as well as shaping and reshaping its scope, substance, schedule, risks, requirements and resources, before implementation is approved.

Unfortunately, managers selected to implement projects do not usually participate in the early stages of project planning, and the strategic-level objectives are not communicated to them.  Consequently, without being aware of the bigger picture, when obstacles arise during implementation, project managers all too often make on-the-spot decisions that are not in harmony with the project’s higher-level objectives.  Thus, when completed, the project may fall short of achieving the intended strategic objective.   In consonance with the theme of “Doing the Right Project” it is imperative therefore that before final project approval, all stakeholders -– from the executive suite level, through the implementation managers, to the target beneficiaries – have a common understanding and acceptance of the project’s dimensions, implications and aspirations.

Rather than a conscious strategic planning approach, the Logical Framework was initially conceived by two individuals of a small consultant firm PCI[3] in 1969 to facilitate evaluating a wide variety of disparate US Agency for International Development (USAID) economic, social and infrastructure projects. After pilot testing a couple of projects in West Africa, PCI standardized a 4 x 4 matrix, identifying essential elements of information (EEI’s) common to both. More extensive field testing followed in Asia, Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, the Near East & South Asia.[4]  During this feasibility testing, the Logframe was acclaimed as an effective rational model for planning and evaluating project outcomes.

Nevertheless, while lauding the Logframe tool, at this stage Project Managers universally decried the Analysis as inappropriate.  In essence, they said, we had the ‘cart before the horse’ because none of the projects we had assessed — using our best judgement — had had the same criteria applied during design!  Managers responsible for implementing the projects were absent from the project initiation, formulation planning and detailed design process; so were only vaguely aware of their project’s long-term strategic objectives.  Planning indicators and targets were not usually carried forward, nor data collected on them to the implementation phase.

Moreover, due to the multi-year, multi-stage project cycle for development projects – i.e. 1 to 2 year initiation, planning & design phase; followed by a 5 to 7 year scheduled duration for project implementation — but significantly shorter (2 to 4 year) USAID rotation and reassignment policies, Project Managers never saw the completion of the projects they participated in designing, nor rarely even the ones they were currently managing.

Consequently, implementation Project Managers accepted little or no responsibility for eventual project outcomes in terms of either meeting immediate needs, satisfying strategic objectives, or their longer-term sustainability!  Instead, Project Managers concentrated on monitoring the immediate deliverables specified in their project’s contracts in terms of the traditional “triple threat” — schedule, cost and technical performance quality. Furthermore, in most instances, USAID’s ‘Project Officers’ were ‘Project Managers’ in name only (INO), as the actual Project Managers were their host country counterparts; or even more remotely — commercial contractors without any stake in the outcome.


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How to cite this article: Smith, K. F. (2021).  Managing Project & Strategic Objectives with Logframe Analysis and the Logical Framework, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IV, April.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/pmwj104-Apr2021-Smith-logframe-analysis-and-the-logical-framework.pdf


About the Author

Dr. Kenneth Smith

Honolulu, Hawaii
& Manila, The Philippines


Initially a US Civil Service Management Intern, then a management analyst & systems specialist with the US Defense Department, Ken subsequently had a career as a senior foreign service officer — management & evaluation specialist, project manager, and in-house facilitator/trainer — with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  Ken assisted host country governments in many countries to plan, monitor and evaluate projects in various technical sectors; working ‘hands-on’ with their officers as well as other USAID personnel, contractors and NGOs.  Intermittently, he was also a team leader &/or team member to conduct project, program & and country-level portfolio analyses and evaluations.

Concurrently, Ken had an active dual career as Air Force ready-reservist in Asia (Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines) as well as the Washington D.C. area; was Chairman of a Congressional Services Academy Advisory Board (SAAB); and had additional duties as an Air Force Academy Liaison Officer.  He retired as a ‘bird’ colonel.

After retirement from USAID, Ken was a project management consultant for ADB, the World Bank, UNDP and USAID.

He earned his DPA (Doctor of Public Administration) from the George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia, his MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Systems Analysis Fellow, Center for Advanced Engineering Study), and BA & MA degrees in Government & International Relations from the University of Connecticut (UCONN).  A long-time member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and IPMA-USA, Ken is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) and a member of the PMI®-Honolulu and Philippines Chapters.

Ken’s book — Project Management PRAXIS (available from Amazon) — includes many innovative project management tools & techniques; and describes a “Toolkit” of related templates available directly from him at kenfsmith@aol.com on proof of purchase of PRAXIS.

To view other works by Ken Smith, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-kenneth-smith/

[2] i.e. the World Bank and United Nations; regional entities such as the Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, and European Union; bilateral nation-to-nation donors, and even some countries such as the Republic of the Philippines.

[3] Namely Leon Rosenberg & Larry Posner, the principals of Practical Concepts Incorporated (PCI), as consultants to the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

[4] I was on a team to field-test the Logframe’s efficacy on several projects in Asia, West & East Africa during 1970 and 1971 on USAID’s task force.  Similar tests were conducted by other teams in Africa, the Near East, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.