Skip to content

Using the ‘really?!’ test on projects 

arrow down
abhishek-tiwari-nN66UEBDP2A-unsplash (1)

At the beginning of March we published our new guide and checklist to help people develop logic models for projects.  

Building on a recent podcast listen about managing to-do lists, I think of our new guidance as akin to a ‘really?!’ test. For those not familiar: Take your task list, think about each task’s importance, how long it will take, how many meetings you’ve got, etc. and ask “Am I going to get this done today? Really?!”  

Logic models provide a similar sense-check for projects. 

Does this project have a good strategic fit? Really?! 

Is there evidence that these activities will help achieve your outcomes? Really?! 

Can you recruit enough participants without in-kind support? Really?!  

Do previous projects suggest that none of your participants will drop out of this new programme? Really?!  

Are the target outputs achievable even if it takes a few months to go through procurement or recruit staff? Really?!  

Logic models are a process. We encourage you to cross things off the list, make changes, and go through multiple drafts. If you still have the exact same list of activities at the beginning and the end, you probably haven’t done the ‘really?!’ test. 

Collaborate with people outside your project team. Ask a colleague to take on the ‘really?!’ role in a meeting. If you work in policy, ask someone in the delivery team to provide critical friend feedback on your draft logic model.  

Use your monitoring and evaluation plan to help you sense-check. How will you know if target outputs and outcomes are achieved? What will success look like? Thinking practically about measuring success can help you to refine activities and be less over-optimistic about targets.  

Many more prompts, tips, and advice can be found in our guide and checklist, and we’ll continue to run training to help people develop evidence-informed projects for local economic growth. Our August newsletter will include autumn dates for our training. Make sure you’re subscribed to stay up to date.