Boiling down good project design into a set of simple rules and tools is like trying to define good farming by a list of best practices and machinery. In both cases the result is an overly prescriptive depiction that fails to capture the art, and the heart, of the trade. Some things just can’t be codified.
That being said, although tools and guiding principles are themselves insufficient they can certainly be helpful in producing good work. An example of a popular management and design tool that we’ve adapted for use at Community Forests International is a Project Charter. A charter document helps clarify your vision and your strategy for carrying out a project - serving as both a treasury of relevant information and a roadmap to success.
An example of Community Forests International’s current iteration of the Project Charter is below. I am using our charter template to design climate change adaptation activities involving our partner communities in Pemba, Tanzania. We use this same format to plan our Canadian programming. Almost any job can be ‘chartered’, though the process is best suited to more complex work. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this tool please share!