The concept of Results Based Manag ement (RBM) comes to the social sector from the world of management. It was a gradual evolution from Management by Objectives (MBO) to Values Based Management (VBM) to Results Based Management (RBM). MBO was first conceptualised by Peter Drucker and outlined in his book The Practice of Management published in 1954. In that seminal book Drucker cautioned managers from falling into the ‘activity trap’ and getting so involved in their day-to-day activities that they forget the main purpose or objective of their business.
Traditionally org anisations focused on managing activities and outputs. An activity and its associated output is only the ‘means’ to an ‘end’. An activity is not an end in itself. The end is the objective of the programme or business. India has achieved a growth rate of 8 percent, but 53 percent of our children under 5 years of age are malnourished. Achieving a high growth rate is necessary but not sufficient. The end follow that the larger objectives have been met.
Over the years there was a perceptible shift to the larger picture. Organisations began to focus on outcomes and impacts. They had to ensure that their processes, products and services were contributing to the achievement of results. This applied as much to national governments as to social development organisations. Governments of UK, US, Canada, and The Netherlands were the pioneers in this field in demonstrating results and in ensuring that the resources were being used in the most efficient manner in achieving those results. Back home in his last budget speech the Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram, spoke of an outcome-oriented budget.
Agencies like the World Bank, UNDP, UNFPA, USAID, CIDA, GTZ, etc realised that adopting results-based programming and management is particularly important for development agencies since social development is a ‘soft’ sector where it is very difficult to demon-needed to improve their performance, management and accountability in order to increase the confidence of donors and other partners, and reverse the past decline in development assistance.
MBO evolved into Logical Framework, which was first developed by Practical Concepts Inc. in 1969 for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It has since been widely adopted and adapted by both business organisations as well as the development sector. The development sector used the Logical Framework as a management tool to improve the design of interventions, most often at the project level. Logical Framework involves identifying strategic elements (inputs, outputs, outcomes and impact) and their causal relationships, indicators, and the assump-tions/risks that may influence success and failure. It is, thus, a tool that facilitates planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of development intervention.
RBM and Logical Framework
In order to implement RBM it is crucial to first define the inputs (or resources available), activities, outputs and outcomes (See Glossary for definition of terms). A Logical Framework (logframe for short) helps us do that. A logframe is a matrix that summarises what a project intends to do and how, what the key assumptions are, and how outputs and outcomes will be monitored and evaluated. Thus a logframe defines a project in terms of goal – purpose – outputs – activities.