Outcome Mapping Template
Visualize and consider all possible outcomes of a complex project.
About the Outcome Mapping Template
When you’re planning a complex project, it’s important to consider all possible outcomes. The beginning and end of a project are sometimes separated by a black box of process and evolution. If you can’t unpack the black box, you risk encountering unforeseen or unintended downstream effects. Peering inside the black box allows you to increase operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ensure success.
Keep reading to learn more about outcome mapping.
What is outcome mapping
Outcome mapping is a method of planning and assessing projects to understand possible outcomes and anticipate change. In other words, it helps you see into that black box. Whenever you undertake a project, you expect a certain level of uncertainty, but outcome mapping aims to reduce unknowns. Rather than reacting to changes and obstacles as they arise during a project, outcome mapping allows you to plan in advance. The team collaborates on a framework that encourages self-monitoring and assessment throughout the course of your project.
In outcome mapping, outcomes are conceptualized as “behavioral changes.” Thinking in terms of changes rather than results encourages you to focus on how the change happens rather than treating each change as a forgone conclusion. Once you’ve identified how a behavior change came about, outcome mapping empowers you to adapt and plan accordingly.
When to use outcome mapping
Outcome mapping originated in the public policy space. Originally, people used the method to track outcomes resulting from a policy initiative such as environmental, economic, political, or demographic changes. The method is meant to unpack the black box at the heart of development activities like social welfare programs.
But outcome mapping is applicable in other contexts, as well. Use outcome mapping to carefully articulate the audience you intend to target over the course of the project, the changes you might see, and the evolving strategies you’ll use to achieve them. Outcome mapping is simply a suite of tools that help your team think about change. It allows you to gather information before embarking on a new project, to ensure that you account for all potential outcomes.
Create your own outcome map
Making your own outcome maps is easy. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share them. Get started by selecting the Outcome Mapping Template, then take the following steps to make one of your own.
Do some prework. The initial stage of outcome mapping is often called the design stage. In this stage, aim to answer four questions: First, what is the vision of this project? Second, who are your primary stakeholders? Third, what tangible goals do you hope to achieve? Fourth, how will you reach those goals?
Provide a framework for monitoring. In the outcome and performance monitoring stage, think about how to monitor your progress toward your intended outcomes. Build self-assessment into your project. In general, aim to track your progress against pre-established markers, test and adapt your strategy to changing circumstances, and log organizational practices and procedures as they evolve.
Develop an evaluation plan. Finally, in the evaluation planning stage, develop the priorities you’ll use to test your processes in depth throughout the project. When you’re in the middle of a project, you won’t always have the time or resources to test everything as thoroughly as you’d like. That’s why it’s important to prioritize before you get started.
Circulate your plan. Share your outcome map with all key stakeholders. Make sure everyone is aligned before circulating the plan outside your team.
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