An indicator is a quantitative measure or qualitative observation used to describe change.
Indicators are linked to the objectives set in a Program Logframe to help measure the success and achievement of the said objectives. They are usually linked to different Results Framework levels. Indicators depict the extent to which a project is accomplishing its planned inputs, outputs, outcomes and goals.
For an indicator to measure change it must have:
- Baseline: a measure used to benchmark the current state of an indicator so that the recorded results can be appropriately calculated;
- Target: the improvement or achievement expected to take place while the project is being implemented.
When developing indicators, the norm is to use SMART criteria to guide performance indicator conceptualization. SMART is:
|Specific||Describe your indicator precisely. What does the project intend to change?|
|Measurable||The indicator must be quantifiable and measurable. Can the indicator be assessed objectively and independently?|
|Achievable||Indicators must be attainable within the constraints of the project triangle (budget/resources, time/budget, and scope/quality).|
|Relevant||Indicators must accurately measure the change the project aspires to generate. Does the indicator practical and cost-effectively measure what the project team needs to know?|
|Time-bound||The indicator should identify a specific time and date. By when will the indicator be achieved? Can the indicator be achieved within the established timeframe?|
Use this basic template to help you plan indicators for your program.
|Indicator name||Definition||Data collection sources and methods||Frequency of data collection||Person(s) responsible||Method of analysis||Information use|
|WHAT will be monitored||HOW it will be monitored||WHEN it will be monitored||WHO will monitor||HOW it will be analyzed||WHY it is monitored|
Take your M&E efforts to the next level by developing a comprehensive framework to guide you through the process. It can look something like that one below. Consult the linked course to get to know more details. Source: Tools4dev [redirects to an external website].
- Take a short How to write an M&E framework course at tools4dev, a comprehensive catalog of resources for international development professionals [redirects to an external website].