What are indicators?


  • What indicators are and what they’re used for.
  • What kinds of indicators exist.
  • What makes good indicators and how to develop them.

There are many clues you can use to check that your sailing journey is still on course; for example, the coastline may still correspond with the sea map, the position you’ve calculated matches the GPS, icebergs are beginning to appear, or currents and wave patterns have changed. In short, you use visible, measurable and tangible evidence.

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In your project work too, it’s important that you continually collect clues and reference points that indicate whether you’re still on course and the objectives you’ve identified are still possible to reach.

These clues and reference points are called indicators.

Using indicators, you can determine whether a certain situation or certain event has taken place. Indicators provide information on the progress being made by a project and on whether it is going as planned.

  • An indicator ...

    ... can be thought of as sign that something has changed. Thus, yellow leaves on the trees are an indicator that autumn is coming, and rustling leaves are an indicator of the presence of wind.

In the planning phase, indicators are used to describe the situation and its requirements. Where possible, it’s important that indicators are defined during the planning phase:

  • Which Project objectiveA project’s intended results, which contribute to improving physical, financial, institutional, social, environmental or other conditions for people, groups, organizations or elements of the broader society. project objectives do we want to (and are able to) observe regularly?
  • Where and how do we determine that progress is being made and ultimately that our project has had results?

For project implementation, indicators are an important tool for overseeing progress, learning and management. With their help, it can be determined whether the project is reaching the objectives identified at the various levels of the logic model. Monitoring indicators on a regular basis is thus the prerequisite for impact-oriented project management.

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In the context of a final review of the project, the indicators form the basis for the analysis and assessment of what’s been achieved. The results can be compared with the situation at the beginning of the project.