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close this bookParticipatory Impact Monitoring - PIM Booklet 4: The Concept of Participatory Impact Monitoring (GTZ, 1996, 36 p.)
close this folder3. Situation analysis
View the document3.1 Management concepts for development projects
View the document3.2 The project reality in self-help promotion

3.1 Management concepts for development projects

ZOPP is a self-contained, logical planning procedure from which a comprehensive project management system can be derived. ZOPP is a further development of the Logical Framework, which was developed for US AID. It seems suitable for all types of planning.

When we plan the construction of a plane, all the marginal conditions are usually fixed and known: we can plan the course of proceeding quite precisely and only have to change our plans if something unforeseeable occurs, for example if a certain material does not meet our expectations.

A game of chess, a football game, or a development project cannot be planned entirely because the different participants react to one another. The marginal conditions are known to a limited extent only, and we expect to encounter new situations continuously. We cannot plan the course of events exactly unless we can exert great influence on the other actors. Instead we have to think over our manner of proceeding one step at a time.

It seems that ZOPP is a planning procedure more suitable for the tasks mentioned first, i.e. solving the problem on the basis of defined targets and conditions. This may be sensible in development policy on a macro level where many marginal conditions change relatively little and only infrequently.

Naturally, the contrasting representation given above is a simplification. In reality, the data used in connection with ZOPP have to be questioned frequently, and the management can be and is improved by the frequency and depth of the monitoring. But the premise remains that the framework is relatively constant and that we can foresee and influence it.

Moreover, we have to deal with other problems in development projects, since they usually involve several actors who observe each other carefully and also react spontaneously to one another. For example, bustling activity and changes can be triggered in a self-help group by the mere fact that a funding agency has become aware of its existence. A situation analysis as such stimulates reflection and wishes. A decision to support a group can lead to power struggles. The claim that development aid plays a subsidiary role is not true, because the overall conception that a self-help group has of itself changes when a funding agency enters the scene: the self-help group has to take a position with respect to the funding agency under changed conditions.


In self-help promotion, perhaps in development policy in general, we need new planning and management concepts that are based on the premise that everything is in a state of flux. We need such concepts at all levels: for the funding agencies as well as for the development and self-help groups. What is needed are concepts that take into consideration the continuous changes in the positions of all actors, i.e. concepts that are systematic and process oriented.