Strategy Testing: An Innovative Approach to Monitoring Highly Flexible Aid Programs – Ladner (2015)


Adaptability has been recognised as being one of the most important features for development programmes due to constant changes in the political environment. Problems in development are often complex and solutions are not always obvious when development projects are being designed and implemented. Traditional monitoring approaches, however, assume that programme goals and outcomes are clearly defined in the design stage, making significant changes in direction hard to accommodate. This paper by DFAT and The Asia Foundation aims to address this issue by developing a monitoring system called Strategy Testing. This system has been specifically designed to monitor development programmes through a highly adaptive approach. The approach emphasises building strong relationships and deep knowledge and maintaining feedback loops between learning and action. Using ten case study examples, Ladner provides a detailed explanation of the Strategy Testing process and tools and outlines key insights on what this approach means in practice. Reflections are then given based on DFAT’s and The Asia Foundation’s experience with using Strategy Testing.