How does the OP&L work?

The three areas of performance are interlinked!


This interrelationship consists of a cycle or learning process in which findings learned in one area, in turn, help inform decisions in one or both of the other areas. For example, if results in the organizational strategy area indicate significant improvements in the degree to which the programs of a country office are incorporating the empowerment principle, yet this change is not accompanied by improvements in impact in the medium term, then there may be a need to make changes to the ways staff are understanding and implementing the empowerment principle. Similarly, these changes in strategies may require the country office to improve its management of gender equity and diversity (organizational support).

Pillars of the OP&L system!

But the question is: how does this cycle or learning process occur?

This happens through various operational pillars that create the work flow processes needed to support this cycle. These pillars consist of processes, systems, tools, and people:

Organizational processes, systems and tools
  1. Programmatic alignment to Millennium Development Goals, other impact indicators and underlying causes of poverty.
  2. Sophisticated impact measurement systems that measure impact at the project and national levels.
  3. Information systems and data gathering tools to facilitate data collection, storage, analysis and reporting.
  4. Processes that connect organizational performance data, annual planning processes and evaluations (data + action + accountability).

People, face-to-face interaction and capacity building
  1. OPL coordinators team that ensures ongoing data collection, analysis, learning and decision making.
  2. Facilitators who apply the data gathering tools with project teams to collect data in ways that promote learning and lead to immediate changes in practice.
  3. Decision makers who are responsible for defining targets and making decisions based on results of organizational performance at different levels.
  4. Face-to-face meetings in which data are analyzed, knowledge is shared and decisions are made.
  5. Ongoing training to ensure that new personnel understand the OPL system, how it works and the associated responsibilities of staff.

Link to action and accountability!

To ensure that the OPL data leads to specific decisions and actions that improve organizational performance over time, a link between data, action and accountability was created by connecting the OPL system to annual planning and evaluation processes at the country office and regional levels. All Annual Operating Plans (AOPs) and regional and country-level as well as Individual Operating Plans include the same objectives and OPL indicators. LAC senior leaders – country directors and RMU staff members – are evaluated twice per year based on common OPL indicators.


Governance bodies at the regional level as well as different levels within each country office also play a key role in linking data to action and promoting accountability. These bodies are responsible for advancing certain areas (such as regional priorities, promoting programmatic quality, diversifying donor base or improving financial management) based on OPL data results and other analyses.

For example, the LAC Leadership Team (consisting of Country Directors and RMU members) is responsible for setting and monitoring priorities for the region, while the LAC Program Directors Team is responsible for promoting programmatic realignment and quality. Within each country office there are executive and senior management teams, which in turn, are responsible for setting and monitoring regional and country-level priorities.

Schedule for planning and APAs (CO and regional):