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Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Global Affairs Canada Results-Based Management Guide

Greg Armstrong

[Updated June 2019]

The 2016 RBM Guide produced by Global Affairs Canada is an essential tool for anyone implementing Canadian aid projects, and useful for anyone else seeking to design a results-based development project.
Global Affairs Canada results chain

Level of difficulty: Moderate
Length: 105 pages (plus appendices)
Primarily useful for: Managers of Canadian aid projects – or anyone involved in project design, regardless of the funding source
Most useful: Reporting on Outcomes, 87-92,
Limitations:  Some elements are of use only in project design, but most can be used in implementation.
The Canadian aid agency – formerly known as CIDA – now part of Global Affairs Canada – adopted Results-Based Management in 1996.  In 2001 a useful  and user-friendly 97-page guide to using RBM in writing a project implementation plan  was produced for CIDA by Peter Bracegirdle. I reviewed  that RBM guide several years ago, and it is still available from Appian consulting and several other sites.

Despite changes to CIDA results terminology in 2008, and the posting of issue-by-issue guides on the CIDA, later DFATD and Global Affairs Websites,  under the general title Results-Based Management Tools at (CIDA / DFATD / Global Affairs Canada): A How-to Guide,  the resources available to people trying to use Results-Based Management in both the design and implementation of Canadian projects, were limited. Trainers had to paste together different documents  on logic models, indicators, risk and indicators obtained off the website, to produce a coherent, if somewhat jargon-laden  ad hoc RBM guide of roughly 45 pages.

Many people continued to use Peter Bracegirdle's 2001 PIP Guide  [A Results Approach to the Implementation Plan] as the most effective of the CIDA/DFAT/GAC guides up until 2016, not just for developing implementation plans at project inception, but, making adaptations for terminology changes, as an aid to annual work planning,

But in 2016 a new group within Global Affairs Canada, called the Results-Based Management Centre of Excellence, produced a comprehensive and very practical new  105 page Results-Based Management guide, under the title Results-Based Management for International Assistance Programming : A How-to Guide.  The new Guide is also available in French as La gestion axée sur les résultats appliquée aux programmes d’aide internationale: Un guide pratique .

While the new GAC RBM guide includes a lot of material from earlier materials used since 2008, it also has a substantial number of new clarifications, which make It a much more practical RBM tool than previous versions published since 2008.

 The GAC RBM page now also contains a draft 2018 Results Reporting Guide for Partners (PDF) and a number of checklists and tip sheets on developing, assessing or reviewing theories of change, logic models, indicators in general, gender equality results and indicators and other topics.]

Who This RBM Guide is for
This document will be of use beyond the primary intended audience which was originally staff of Global Affairs and those working with them on project and project design.  While some of the background information describing the relationship of this guide to other Canadian government policies will be of little use or interest to anyone outside of the Canadian government, there is a lot of material here which could help implementing agencies and partners working on Canadian – funded projects, to work more effectively.  And it is easy to see, with the discussions on problem identification, theory of change, risk, and other topics, how this guide will be useful to people designing projects for any agency, regardless of the funding source.

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