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Define project scoping & objectives (DRAFT)


Define project scoping & objectives (DRAFT)

Define project scoping & objectives (DRAFT)

Posted on March 22, 2019 by Karina de Souza

Authoring Organizations: CEO Water Mandate
Pacific Institute
Consulting Organizations: --
Universal: Yes
Applicable Phases: Commit
Last Updated Aug 11, 2019


Ensure clear scoping and objectives from the start of the project as this makes the inevitably challenging partnership process smoother.


Clear project scoping and planning must include how decision making is done: When project scoping and planning has been poor, decisions are not made at the correct level, resulting in loss of ownership, particularly by the local partners.

The business case for a partnership requires in-depth project scoping and clear objectives: To mobilize investment in the partnership, a good business case, built upon in-depth project scoping and clear objectives is necessary. As there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, each partnership should be preceded by a thorough scoping exercise. This should include an analysis ensuring parties understand catchment dynamics and interacting actors and power relations to be able to design a sound partnership and project. The partnership is further strengthened if partners identify activities that harmonize activities towards a common goal. This is especially true if complementing a government mandate.  

Poorly scoped projects and objectives will result in a poorly designed partnership. In particular, experience has shown that an initial design, weak on political stakeholder analysis will result in a poorly designed governance structure. Furthermore, changing partners, may result in a change in scope or objectives if the underlying analysis is not complete and certain.


Understand technical and institutional challenges with respect to the partnership to anticipate potential issues. This includes clarification of the geographic project scope and boundaries as understanding the catchment hydrology can be helpful for the project overall. Identifying gatekeepers in the community is important when trying to achieve behaviour change. Finally, make sure that the project supports the existing institutional structures, rather than undermine them.

Clear scoping and objectives of the project are needed to ensure that the project design helps to address challenges facing the partners themselves. Each partner brings their own objectives and requirements to the partnership. Recognising this and working to maximise mutual points of alignment helps to establish a joint vision and bring clarity around project parameters. When scoping for new project ideas, it may be useful to use existing platforms to facilitate project identification. It is better to engage with too many actors at the start of the process, rather than too few and risk leaving potential stakeholders behind. Raising the awareness and understanding of stewardship can help to increase the changes of stakeholder buy-in.



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This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.