As you finalize your outcome chain and focus on the outcome(s) of interest, streamline your outcome chain by considering whether the outcomes are:
- Important: Are the end outcomes important? Do they represent significant change or improvements that are valued by participants and key stakeholders? Outcomes may be achievable but not really worth the effort. Apply the “Who cares?” test.
- Reasonable: Are the outcomes linked in reasonable order? Is it likely that one will lead to the next, which will then will lead to the next?
- Realistic: Are the outcomes realistic given the nature of the problem, your resources, and your abilities? Will the program lead to or help contribute to these outcomes? (Be careful to ensure that the outcomes are realistic given the level of effort.)
- Potentially negative/accompanied by negative consequences: What are potential negative effects that we need to anticipate? What else might happen? Or, how else might the sequence of events unfold?
You can print this worksheet to help assess your program outcomes.