Improving Project, Program and Policy Performance in Developing Countries through Managing for Development Results

Date: March 2008
Type: Papers and Briefs
ADB administration and governance; Evaluation
Series: Evaluation Occasional Papers


The paper seeks to answer five questions—(i) what is “Managing for Development Results (MfDR),” (ii) what are the known conditions for the successful adoption of MfDR?, (iii) Do these conditions apply to developing countries?, (iv) does MfDR produce better results in developing countries?, and (v) what are some of the emerging challenges in adopting MfDR? In noting that that MfDR is results-based management expressed in the language of development, the reasons for the adoption of the new term and the possible consequences of this are explored. While the perils of transferring management practices from one cultural context to another are noted, the experience of evaluation capacity developing in developing countries supports the view that the known conditions for successful adoption of MfDR generally apply to the developing country context. However, many developing face special challenges not faced by rich countries and they need to deal with the particular cultural context that may support or impede successful adoption. There is little empirical evidence that MfDR delivers better develop results although it is intrinsically seen as doing so. However, the evidence presented in the paper supports the view that applying the principles of MfDR can bring about significant improvements in project, program and policy performance. Aside from the preconditions for success, a number of emerging challenges in adopting MfDR are discussed. The paper concludes that MfDR can contribute to better results. Paradoxically though, those countries that need the benefits the most are the least likely to be able to apply “whole of government” MfDR. Notwithstanding this, more limited adoption where the conditions are favorable offers hope for better results from projects, programs and policies in the future.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • What is "Managing for Development Results"?
  • What are the Known Conditions for Successful Adoption of MfDR?
  • Do the Conditions for Successful Adoption of MfDR Apply to Developing Countries?
  • Does MfDR Produce Better Results in Developing Countries?
  • What are Emerging Challenges in Adopting MfDR?
  • Conclusions