Real-time Outcome Planning & Evaluation (ROPE)

About ROPE

The Real-time Outcome Planning & Evaluation (ROPE) is a unique management strategy developed by HR&S. ROPE is based on informed decisions taken as a result of lessons learned compiled from 20 years of operation in Sub-Sahara African countries (SSA) and close equal partnership collaboration with SSA stakeholders. ROPE empowers local stakeholders to implement their ideas by effectively and efficiently addressing their challenges through equal partnership with international stakeholders.

The ROPE compiles and addresses the necessary conditions required to bring about a given impact, including truth, trust, state-of-the-art knowledge, sustainable economy, institutional capacity, transparency, accountability, cross-cultural understanding, evaluation planning, learning lessons and testing the strength of evidence for social impact.

A new ROPE programme starts with setting goals (Ambitions) and developing indicators (Progress markers) to measure results. Then we develop an implementation plan, we secure finances, staff, and infrastructure, and ensure knowledge sharing, the accounting procedures and the cross-cultural understanding. Thereafter we make an activity plan and assign people and institutions; who will do what, how and when. Now we implement, while in parallel we measure the results and analyse. Thereafter we revise the programme plan according to lessons learned and continue until we reach the goal we set up in the beginning. 

HR&S offers training and coaching on the ROPE strategy.  Besides programme design, implementation and evaluation coaching, HR&S contributes with; expert advice, international state-of-the-art knowledge, accountability management, cross-cultural training, and start-up loans. 

The ROPE management strategy offers an opportunity to reflect over whether an expected impact is likely to happen as  a result of a programme. The tool provides a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context.


Research, Innovation & Social Enterprising (RISE) Idea

The RISE Idea shall take into account what has already been implemented in relation to the idea, and by whom? What can be strengthened and how? Who are potential Strategic partners? There shall also be a justification for taking an initiative in the context. Do we have the institutional capacity?  Do we see an opportunity for a sustainable economy? What would be the honest motivation for the Programme management partners to take this initiative on? We present the Context and challenge addressed. A RISE Idea is often a narrative of the replies to the questions: i) “What do you want to do?”, ii) “How do you want to do it?”, iii) Why did you not do it already?” iv) “Which are the country and local authority regulations?”, v) “Which are the surrounding policies?”, vi) “How do you plan to reach a sustainable economy / what is the business idea?”.

Partners & Stakeholders

ROPE identifies five categories of partners: Programme management partners; Target partners; Clients and customers; Support team and control; and Strategic partners. The Programme management partners (PP) are those managing the Programme, including HR&S and Action10. They are well-defined individuals or institutions with certain skills and competences making them suitable to manage the Programme. The Target Partners (TP) are identified as those individuals, groups, and organisations with whom the Programme interacts directly and with whom the Programme anticipates opportunities for influence.  The Target partners are grouped into two categories; i) stakeholders with access to a certain level of physical infrastructure and who are managing financial accounting and ii) stakeholders operating in vulnerable settlements who may be illiterate, lack access to a computer, internet, and transportation and be unaware of financial accounting procedures. The Clients are stakeholders who benefit from our programme and who pay for the services and the products. The Clients pay directly through buying f ex sanitary pads or education or they pay indirectly by generating interest from an ActionInvest loan. The Clients do not impose change but they benefit from and thereby sustain the change imposed by the programme. The Support team and control capture, for example, coaches, auditors, local authority, family and religious leaders, and Head of community. The Strategic Partners (SP) are identified as those individuals, groups, and organisations with whom the Programme interacts indirectly.  The Programme does NOT measure outcomes. Important strategic partners include the appropriate governmental bodies, as well as the embassies at both sides.

Professional Ambitions

This section explains what the target partner has identified as the solution to her situation. What she wants to do and achieve right now in her life. What are the goals of the Target Partners?  It is the answer to the question “What do you want (to do)?”

Professional Ambitions – Outcome challenges

Here we discuss in general the challenges that the Target partner face. This is a compilation of the reasons for why the Target Partners are not doing what they want to do to implement their ambitions. It is the answer to the question “Why did you not do it already?”.

Professional Ambition – Output & Outcome

The implementation plan of the Target partner presents what she wants to do in actual practice. What are the actual activities and steps are to achieve her ambitions? What needs to be done in actual practise making it happen.  It is the answer to the question “How do you want to do it?”

Quality values 

This section concerns quality values principles including truth, trust, harmony, equity, resilience, and equal partnership. During the foundation stage of a new partnership as well as during evaluation planning meetings, the partners review their views the expectations on the other partner. Mutual input, mutual management responsibilities, and mutual benefits are discussed and agreed on. A separate tool is available to support the process; TRUST Principles.
Ambitions are compiled together with Outputs, Outcomes, and Outcome challenge.

Knowledge sharing

Here we compile and share the international and national state of the art knowledge related to the topic within our programmes.
Ambitions are compiled together with Outputs, Outcomes, and Outcome challenge.

Sustainable economy

It is now time to use the outcome challenges identified by the Target Partners to develop a business idea (a text) and a business plan (with numbers). Our model ensures sustainability by enabling social enterprising, in order to benefit from sustainable economy, while generating social impact. Our activities need seed funding, investment capital or a loan to get started, but shall not depend on external funding to be maintained. An income shall cover the running costs. , but generate an income.
Ambitions are compiled together with Outputs, Outcomes, and Outcome challenge.

Institutional capacity

The institutional capacity concerns the capacity of the partner institutions to manage the programme; governance, management and operations; transparency and accountability in ethics and governance, as well as cross-cultural understanding.
Ambitions are compiled together with Outputs, Outcomes, and Outcome challenge.

Outcome challenges full story & Expected impact

All outcome challenges are compiled together into a full story. The full story is developed in order to present the situation from a positive point of view. This full story shall be translated into vision, mission and expected impact.

Expected Output and Outcome plan

All Outputs and Outcome identified in the five previous sections are now are compiled in a framework in order to generate an overview.

Stakeholder analysis

Stakeholders are organisations, groups, departments, structures, networks or individuals, which have something to gain or lose through the outcomes of a planning process or project.  Stakeholder analysis is the process of assessing a decision’s impact on relevant parties and identify support team members and potential clients.

Progress markers & Sources of Evidence

Then we identify a Progress marker for each outcome. Progress markers are measurable indicators of progress or non-progress. We compile the baseline, thus the situation prior to implementing our programme. Thereafter we identify sources of evidence for each progress marker and outcome and for the expected impact. Then we identify the statistical method chosen to measure progress together with the objects for collecting evidence and controls.

Activity plan & Input required

It is now time to develop a concrete activity plan which defines who is going to do what, when and how. The activity plan will identify the needs for input including; staff, skills, training, work hours, network, and funds. It shall be noted that the required input cannot be any other resource than that what we have access too or what we can generate, otherwise we allow the required input to block the whole process. Start-up funding is often enabled through self-payment or bootstrapping;  low costs, own investment, start to sell something even if it is at a small scale, generate a side income, offer consultancy, seek crowd-funding, seek grants with overlapping aims. It shall further be noted that ROPE does not accept Aid dependency.

Strategy for Change

The last step in the ROPE Design is to develop a Strategy for Change (SfC). A Strategy for Change is essentially a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. It offers an opportunity to reflect on whether the expected impact is actually likely to happen as a result of the programme. Thus the SfC aims at defining all of the necessary and also sufficient conditions required to bring about the impact and presents the connections between impact, outcome, output, activity and input.

Expected Outcomes

Compile all expected outcomes in an Outcome Framework. The Outcome Framework will constitute the basis for testing strengths.


Here we present the activities and compile the outputs.

Establishing Target partner Committee

The Target partner implements the programme according to the Activity plan.  The Target partners establishes a committee with: i) representatives from all target partners who will be in charge of the implementation of the professional ambitions and ii) representatives of staff managing all domains; EP, QV, KS, SE and IC.

Structuring Programme management partner Operations

The Programme management partners facilitates for the Target partner programme to implement the programme. The ROPE proposes that the Programme management partner operations team is composed of a management team and five workgroups or departments; Evaluation planning (EP), Quality values (QV), Knowledge sharing (KS), Sustainable economy (SE), and Institutional capacity (IC), with well identified assignments.

Implement the Activity plan

The implementation of the activity plan includes for example; Evaluation planning workshops; Seeking Start-up funding, and collecting evidence.


Collect evidence                                                 

Expected outcome and impact – Compile evidence for each expected outcome and each expected impact. Unexpected outcome and impact: Identify and compile unexpected outcome. It can be positive and it can be negative – Unexpected output and outcome challenges- Identify and compile unexpected challenges.

Testing the strength of Evidence for Impact

The evaluations are made real-time and the purpose is learning lessons.

We assess if the programmes are needs driven, quality values, knowledge sharing, sustainable economy, institutional capacity.
We assess the Strategy for Change, our modes of operation and if we have achieved expected outcomes and expected impact.
We compile evidence for each expected outcome and each expected impact and then test the strength of the evidence.  ROPE testing the strength of evidence include, but is not limited to; Scoring progress markers, Evidence assessment including attribution, quantitative and qualitative analysis, contribution tracing, stakeholder analysis, and publication bias.

Quantitative & Qualitative evidence

The testing the strength of evidence section builds on quantitative measurements of indicators that we set while designing our programmes (progress markers), and that responds to outcome challenges defined by our local partners (target partners).  The evidence also builds on qualitative measurements based on process tracing and contribution tracing. We work with randomized micro surveys, macro surveys and stories (interviews, testimonies etc).

Testing the strength of evidence

The strongest cases use multiple forms of evidence, some addressing the weaknesses of others.  

It is of no importance to the evaluation whether an outcome or impact was achieved or not. This is a plain testing of evidence with no bias. Lessons learned on lack of outcome is as important, and many times more important, than lessons learned when an expected outcome was achieved.

Evaluation planning & Conclusions

The lessons learned are compiled and constitutes the platform for the evaluation planning. The programme strategy is adjusted in relation to the lessons learned.

When reaching impact the programme can be concluded and the previous partners become Strategic partners. A new collaboration may be initiated later.

We also take it as an important responsibility to share our lessons learned. Our targeted audience is; partners, potential partners, public sector, investors, and potential investors.