Important Things to Know About Representing Your Action Plan

Important Things to Know About Representing Your Action Plan

Your action plan is critical to the achievement of your outcomes. This  means your representation (documentation) of the plan will also provide a summary of your short and long term outcomes.

There are various ways to represent your action plan and the model that you choose, or create, is largely dependent on your preference. However, the complexity of your programme and external requirements from funders or other stakeholders might also influence your decision.  The model most widely used, due to its longevity, is the  logic model or log frame. 

If you google ‘logic framework’ or ‘log frame’ you will find a large number of resources and log frame development guides. Although there are similarities, many of the methodologies and subsequent frameworks can be be very different which is confusing. Ultimately, a log frame is simply a way to summarise the most important aspects of your programme plan and logic in a way that makes sense to you and others.  This has been interpreted in different ways by various organisations and individuals which is why there is such diversity. For many organisations, it is a giant step forward to have programmes documented in a simple way - this is why we suggest that you stick to what is straightforward and don’t get lost in the technical details/ arguments around log frame approach.

The 'traditional' option

Below is an adjusted log frame template suggested by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation who have taken a fairly simple approach. Although it does not contain all the detail of your Theory of Change (such as the assumptions and attributes) and cannot display the complexity of the causal relationships between your different level outcomes, it provides a concise summary of your resources/inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impact.

Have a look at this infographic for a simple, visual explanation of the terms used in the log frame.

A good alternative

As mentioned, in the absence of a Theory of Change or outcomes chain, the log frame is often criticised because it follows a linear and pipeline model of progression from resources to impact. It cannot express the often complex causal relationships between outcomes.  This is not necessarily a problem when you are simply summarising the most important elements of your programme and do have an outcomes chain available. However, if you also want your model to illustrate how your programme works, you could elaborate on your outcomes chain and simply add boxes and arrows for resources, activities and outputs as shown below.

Read through the case study for this section and have a look at the examples (we provide both a table and a diagram) for a pratical illustration of how to represent/document your action plan.