Module 3: Intervention performance monitoring


Defining indicators of change

Indicators of change are used to track the extent to which an intervention is producing the changes anticipated in the results chain. At least one relevant indicator needs to be defined for each level of the chain, i.e. for outputs, intermediate outcomes, outcomes and impacts. 

Indicators can be either qualitative or quantitative, but need to correspond to the change they are trying to measure, and also fulfil SMART principles (i.e. be specific and precisely defined, measurable, and defined within a specific timeframe). It is also important to consider whether indicators are realistically measureable given time and resource constraints. 

The DCED Standard defines a set of common indicators that are recommended for use by all programmes applying the Standard. One of the virtues of these common indicators is that results from different projects and programmes can be compared more easily. They include:

  • Scale: For instance, the number of target enterprises which benefit financially as a result of programme activities
  • Net income: Net additional income accrued to targeted enterprises as a result of the programme 
  • Net additional jobs created: Net additional full time equivalent jobs created in target enterprises as a result of the programme 

These indicators may not fit well with every intervention. In this case, the DCED Standard allows the use of alternative indicators, if their use is justified.

Guidelines to the DCED Standard for results measurement: defining indicators of change

Learn how indicators can be defined for a results chain and what makes a good indicator.