Outcome mapping: A method for tracking behavioural changes in development programs
Outcome mapping is a methodology for planning, monitoring and evaluating development initiatives that aim to bring about social change. The process of outcome mapping helps a project team or program to be specific about the actors it targets, the changes it expects to see and the strategies it employs. Results are measured in terms of the changes in behaviour, actions or relationships that can be influenced by the team or program. The methodology is comprised of several tools, which can be adapted to different contexts. It enhances team and program understanding of change processes, improves the efficiency of achieving results and promotes realistic and accountable reporting.
Outcome mapping provides tools that help a development program to think holistically and strategically about how it intends to achieve results. It encourages a team to introduce monitoring and evaluation at the planning stage and to link them to project implementation and management. It also links implementation to outcomes, so it is well suited to the complex and long-term nature of international development programs, where different outcomes are not easily or usefully separated. Focusing monitoring and evaluation on identified ‘boundary partners’ (see box on page 1) allows the program to measure results within its sphere of influence, to obtain useful feedback that can help improve performance and to take credit for its contribution to outcomes rather than for the outcomes themselves.