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Objective tree

Aim of the tool
It provides a vision of a future, improved situation.

When to use it?
Carried out after doing the problem analysis using the problem tree tool

How difficult is it to use it?
– moderate – for experienced users/facilitators

Tool for thought or tool for action?
Tool for thought and tool for action

Issues to be aware of
An objective tree often shows many objectives that cannot all be reached at once or may seem unrealistic, too ambitious or not feasible within the context of a possible intervention. Choices will therefore have to be made, these choices are, however, made at a later stage. 

Description of the tool
It translates each negative statement in the problem tree into a positive statement (the objectives). It helps you to visualise the means-end relationships in Figures 1 and 2. It comprises part of a set of tools under Goal Oriented Project Planning (GOPP).

Example of an Objective tree (with results hierarchy)

Steps needed when using the tool

  • Turn all the problems (i.e. the negative situations) into objectives (i.e. positive, realised future states) starting from the top. Just as in the problem tree, it is important that all stakeholders participate
  • It is important that the objectives are realistically and ethically achievable
  • Add important cause-effect relationships
  • Check cause-effect relationships: as means-end relationships for validity and completeness
  • Delete the objectives that are not necessary
  • Draw connecting lines to the appropriate objectives at the different levels