Even though most people are aware of the importance of the inception phase of a project, it often receives too little attention. In many cases, a thorough situational and capacity assessment is lacking: activities of other organisations are not mapped beforehand and the role of stakeholders and potential partners is often disregarded or considered only after the planning stage.

Practice proves that neglect of these steps makes the project vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances and may jeopardise efforts towards success.

The following tools can help to guide project planners and implementers through these steps:

  • Stakeholder analysis: Who should I involve in the development of my project or programme?
  • Institutiogramme: How do relevant stakeholders relate to each other in a specific programme context?
  • Problem tree analysis: How are the problems/challenges that you are seeking to resolve interlinked?
  • Coverage matrix: “Who does what” (in the whole sector of the stakeholders)
  • Environmental scan: What are the external factors that may have an impact on the project or organisation?
  • Strategic options: What could be done in response to the challenges that you wish to tackle?
  • Envisioning: How do we create innovative solutions?
  • Logical Framework: How do we make a systematic, comprehensive plan of our project?
  • Assumptions: What do we assume to happen when we implement a specific intervention?
  • Indicators: How do we know whether we are on track in getting where we want to be at the end? Indicators are normally the questions/points of reference you ask yourself /define for yourself when trying to reach your goal
  • Participation matrix: Who will do what (in the project)? How do we get the stakeholders to sense the need and benefit to cooperate? How do we facilitate participation and resources for participation?
  • Training Needs Assessment: Who should learn what to be able to implement this project successfully?    
  • Organisation assessment: Can the organisation in question implement this project?
  • Process flow chart: How does and should this project work?