Policy brief

How DFID can better manage complexity in development programming

Published by

DFID increasingly recognises that complex problems require flexible systems to support testing, learning and adaptation. But when, how and why should DFID deploy their staff resources? And how can DFID design and approve programmes with ambitious goals but realistic management requirements? 

This ODI briefing note is the outcome of an ongoing process within DFID to confront these issues and answer the question: how can DFID design and manage programmes to address complex development challenges without creating too much staff workload? 

The analysis looks at the management workload of programmes. This includes: 

  • the management time that programmes require from DFID staff
  • the types of management tasks involved
  • the complexity and unpredictability of these tasks
  • how all of these factors may vary over the programme life-cycle. 

The report explores how DFID can address complex problems while also ensuring that the management workload profiles of its staff remain reasonable given available resources.