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Project Scope / Planning 101: A few things to consider when d eveloping a new initiative. Mario R. Gravelle Learning & Innovation Analyst. Project Scope/Planning 101 . Identifying a need : Can you show that a problem exists and prove that a new intervention is needed?
A few things to consider when
developing a new initiative.
Mario R. Gravelle
Learning & Innovation Analyst
Identifying a need:Can you show that a problem exists and
prove that a new intervention is needed?
How can you ensure that your intervention will be effective?
What makes your intervention efficient?
What are intervention deal-breakers and deal-makers?
Two steps that show your intervention is required…
Step one: Using the right approach to demonstrate that a problem needs to be addressed.
“Verbal and physical violence in high schools is an ever increasing problem. According to the provincial government, each high school experiences at least three acts of violence (student on student and/or student on staff) per day. This number has doubled in the past ten years. (Provincial Government, Report on High School Violence. 2011)”
“Acts of violence in high schools affect student learnings outcomes in two ways: First, systemic violence in high schools is very disruptive to the student body. Second, disciplinary measures force the perpetrators to miss important classroom time. Violent incidences also impacts staff career outcomes as it leads to poor workplace conditions. It is important to note that violence in high schools has an impact outside of the school setting as expenses incurred to prevent/come to terms with violent incidences (policing; disciplining offenders; and HR costs) are shouldered by the taxpayer. The funds to pay for these unnecessary expenditures could certainly be used in other places.”
Step two: Making a case for yourself by confirming that nothing is in place to address the issue or what is in place is not effectively addressing the problem.
Using a Theory of Change to test/prove that your intervention will work.
A Theory of Change expresses the underlying theories/beliefs that guide a service delivery strategy and are assumed to be critical for producing change and improvement.
A Theory of Change can be captured in a series of IF-THEN statements: If something is done with or for project participants, then something should change.
Case Study:Improving student learning and staff career outcomes by decreasing violence in high schools.
IFa target group’s support network takes part in activities or receive services, THEN the target group is more likely to experience specific changes in their knowledge, attitudes or skills.
In this case, IF facilitators provide conflict intervention strategy training to caregivers and staff, THENstudents will be supported in choosing to resolve conflicts peacefully.
IFparticipants take part in activities or receive services, THENthey experience specific changes in their knowledge, attitudes or skills.
In this case, IF facilitators provide nonviolent conflict management strategy training to students, THEN these students will develop nonviolent conflict management skills.
A Logic Model Diagram illustrates the connection between the theories that underscore your initiative and what you intend to provide that will lead to the outcomes you want to occur.
-Inputs/Resources (financial, human, knowledge and infrastructure)
-Outputs (activities and services)
-Outcomes/Impacts (changes in knowledge, attitudes or skills leading to changes in behavior and usual practice)
A Logic Model Diagram acts as a drawing that shows how one component of an initiative leads to the next.
Case Study: Improving student learning and staff career outcomes by decreasing violence in high schools.
Better student learning outcomes (higher graduation rates and access to post-secondary education)
Improved staff career outcomes (decrease in staff burnout and turnover)
(Describes the issue that you wish to address with this intervention)
Verbal and physical violence in high schools affects student learning and staff career outcomes.
Are your proposed activities required and realizable?
Are your timelines realistic?
Is your budget reasonable?
How do you intend to stay in business?
Spreading the wealth through replication
The added value of ensuring a project’s intellectual legacy
Theory of Change and Logic Model
Andrea Anderson, The Community Builder’s Approach to Theory of Change:
A practical guide to theory anddevelopment.
Julia Coffman, Learning From Logic Models: An Example
of a Family/School Partnership Program.
University of Wisconsin, Enhancing Program Performance with Logic Models.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Logic Model Development Guide.
Professional Development and Other Links
American Evaluation Association
Canadian Evaluation Society
The Community Tool Box