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Outcome mapping for Decathlon

What is outcome mapping?

Outcome mapping is a type of project progress measurement favoured by grant-making organisations such as the IDRC. It is a two-pronged approach. Firstly, the project is defined in a very specific and detailed way, and secondly the project's progress is continuously monitored in the light of said definition.

The purpose of defining the project in the outcome mapping way is mostly to help project managers to see the project in a light that is different from traditional metrics. The definition also helps establish what items need monitoring. Monitoring the project takes place through one or more journals that are updated regularly, and through specific reports relating to certain aspects of the project definition.

The value of outcome mapping for Decathlon

The purpose of the Decathlon is to create, establish and foster language communities, but a language community isn't something that can be controlled and for which a specific outcome can be predicted with absolute certainty.

To a degree, it can be said that the Decathlon project is somewhat experimental. While certain activities within the Decathlon project are focused on achieving specific, predictable results using methods that promise a reasonable degree of success, a great deal of effort is also put into developing and investigating more novel methods of achieving the overall goal of community development.

For this reason the Decathlon is quite suited to be measured in terms of outcome mapping, where quantifiable results are often less important than influences that cause changes in behaviour in associated parties.

Vision and mission

One of the tools used in outcome mapping is to define a vision and mission for the project. In proper outcome mapping, the vision and mission are two different ways of viewing the same scenario, namely what influence the project would have if it were hugely successful in a way that exceeds even the most optimistic expectations.

The purpose of such wishful thinking is to remind us that our project is not an end in itself but a key element in a much larger process that will continue long after the project itself has come to an end.

The vision is a description of how the world would look like if the project is a success. The mission is a description of how the vision would be achieved, in vague, general terms. The purpose of the vision and mission is not to list the actual goals of the project or to indicate in details how we would like to achieve those specific goals.

Vision

People who speak specific languages, use those languages with pride, and their use of those languages in their daily activities enable them to get the best benefit from those activities. In schools, parents insist that their children are educated in their own language because they realise the value of the language and the benefit it will have for their children when they grow up. Teachers agree and go out of their way to promote the various languages. People use software in their own language and they are used to seeing things being done in their own languages. Ordinary people participate forums and clubs to that promote their language, and businesses use local languages as a matter of course when dealing with staff as well as clients. People form bonds based on language relationships that help them the rest of their lives. People from neighbouring nations respect each other because their languages have an equal standing. Neither's language is the superior one, to be used in favour of the other. Most people use opensource technology because they recognise that it is easiest and most extensible. Creators of proprietary software ensure that their programs are compatible with opensource products and they donate resources to the development of opensource software.

Mission

The Decathlon promotes the use of local languages by showing that languages can be used in daily activities such as business, education and personal habits, specifically with regard to technology. By assisting with the translation of ten software projects, people who speak those languages will realise local language is capable of performing any action. They will be impressed with the translated software and they'll share it with their friends and superiors. Parents, teachers and children will become convinced that local language is not only capable but essential for daily technological interaction. People will form groups, forums, and clubs to talk about translation into their language. They'll share their expertise with each other and with new members of the groups. People will realise that software should be adapted to them, not the other way round. Everyone will be proud of their language when they see what their language can achieve and what can be achieved through their language. Because it is opensource software that is translated into various languages, people will realise that opensource software is better and that contribution to such projects is beneficial to them and everyone else.

Boundary partners

The philosophy of outcome mapping is that anyone you have an influence over is in fact a partner in your project. In outcome mapping jargon, these parties are called boundary partners. Some parties are influenced directly by your project while others are only influenced through other parties.

Boundary partners

The Decathlon has a direct influence on professional translators. These translators influence academics and professional organisations. They also influence translation companies. Professional translators also influence other companies, who in turn influence policy makers and governments.

The Decathlon has a direct influence on volunteer translators. These translators influence the software community. They also influence software development, which in turn influence end-users. Volunteer translators also influence the media, who in turn influences the policy makers.

The Decathlon has a direct influence on localisation developers. These developers influence other developers, and they also influence upstream projects.

In addition, the Decathlon has a direct influence on translation associations, on academic organisations, on multilingual companies and on translation businesses.

The main boundary partners of the Decathlon project is therefore professional translators, volunteer translators and localisation developers.

Outcome challenges

A key aspect of outcome mapping is behavioural change. It can be said that the goal of any project is to change the behaviour of those influenced by it. If there is no change in behaviour in the boundary partners, the situation after the completion of the project will revert to its state before the start of the project, and the project will have had no lasting benefit.

An outcome challenge is outcome mapping speak for the ideal behavioural changes that each of the main boundary partner will exhibit as a result of the project.

Outcome challenges: Professional translators

The ideal changes in behaviour we would like to see in professional translators as a result of the Decathlon, are as follows:

  • Participate in volunteer l10n
  • Help grow markets for l10n in their language
  • Improve skills and techniques for volunteers
  • Bring knowledge to FLOSS community
  • Influence commercial localisation of FLOSS

Outcome challenges: Volunteer translators

The ideal changes in behaviour we would like to see in volunteer translators as a result of the Decathlon, are as follows:

  • Promote public recognition for l10n and volunteerism
  • Use their translations and help promote it
  • Get involved in those projects and advocate good l10n practice and use of free tools
  • Recruit more translators and other volunteers to participage/encourage l10n
  • Use translation tools, and become involved in support of those tools

Outcome challenges: Localisation developers

The ideal changes in behaviour we would like to see in localisation developers as a result of the Decathlon, are as follows:

  • Create portfolio for l10n manager in a project
  • Regard l10n issues as bugs, and implement fixes
  • Become more receptive about l10n needs
  • Help improve processes for volunteers (eg less complicated, lower barriers of entry)
  • Help improve 3rd party l10n tools

Progress markers

How close we are to our ideal behavioural change in a boundary partner can be measured by taking a look at what specific actions are taken by those partners. In outcome mapping, such actions are called progress markers.

During the course of the project certain actions can be reasonably expected from the boundary partner. Such actions are expected even if the project is only moderately successful. Other actions may only be expected if the project is a huge success. Still more actions would be ideal although few people would expect them to happen. In outcome mapping, these three types of progress markers are termed “expect to see”, “like to see” and “love to see”.

Progress markers: Professional translators

If professional translators change their behaviour according to the outcome challenge, we can expect to see the following actions taken by them:

  • Expect: volunteer to translate
  • Expect: volunteer to tell others
  • Expect: join our mailing list
  • Expect: refer us to existing volunteers

If the Decathlon is a huge success, the actions taken by professional translators would include the following:

  • Like: share their experience with others
  • Like: translate an entire application
  • Like: recruit others to help translate
  • Like: discuss the Decathlon and FLOSS translation on forums etc
  • Like: tell proprietary tool developers about needs of FLOSS
  • Like: become officially involved in the translation of that project
  • Like: maintain the completed translation

In our wildest imagination, professional translators would take the following actions:

  • Love: get volunteer l10n integrated into curriculums
  • Love: get commercial companies to do free translation
  • Love: get involved in improving the localisability of the software

Progress markers: Volunteer translators

If volunteer translators change their behaviour according to the outcome challenge, we can expect to see the following actions taken by them:

  • Expect: volunteer to translate
  • Expect: create Pootle user account and check it out
  • Expect: be or become officially involved in the translation of that project
  • Expect: formally announce their use or posssible use of Pootle

If the Decathlon is a huge success, the actions taken by volunteer translators would include the following:

  • Like: translate an entire application
  • Like: get involved in supporting Pootle (user group)
  • Like: form and participate in l10n forums for their language
  • Like: help standardise translations across several programs
  • Like: discuss their work in other forums/press/blogs
  • Like: tell tool developers about their needs
  • Like: maintain the completed translation

In our wildest imagination, volunteer translators would take the following actions:

  • Love: lead l10n community in their language
  • Love: take lead role in another l10n project
  • Love: have influence adoption of translated software in their cultures

Progress markers: Localisation developers

If localisation developers change their behaviour according to the outcome challenge, we can expect to see the following actions taken by them:

  • Expect: provide us with all details of their l10n process
  • Expect: announce their involvement with Decathlon openly
  • Expect: permit translators to use Pootle
  • Expect: enquire frequently about the progress of translation

If the Decathlon is a huge success, the actions taken by volunteer translators would include the following:

  • Like: implement changes to their software according to our suggestions
  • Like: simplify their localisation system to accommodate Pootle
  • Like: seriously investigate setting up their own Pootle server
  • Like: if no l10n portfolio, to create a l10n portfolio in their dev team
  • Like: provide visible recognition for translators on their sites

In our wildest imagination, volunteer translators would take the following actions:

  • Love: band together with other developers to create a l10n platform
  • Love: adopt Pootle as an option within their l10n system
  • Love: donate development time to the improvement of the Translate Toolkit

Strategy maps

In outcome mapping, a strategy map is a list of actions that the project can take to produce or induce the results that support a boundary partner's outcome challenges.

According to outcome mapping theory, there are up to six different types of actions that can be taken to encourage any given outcome challenge. These actions can directly cause things (C), it can persuade individuals or groups to certain behaviours (P), or it can provide ongoing support for an existing behaviour (S). What's more, the actions can be applied to the boundary partners themselves (I, internal) or to the environment in which the partner finds himself (E, external).

Strategy maps: Professional translators

Participate in volunteer l10n

IC: invite translators to translate software
EC: none
IP: inform translators of the benefits of software translation
EP: post discussion on translator forums about software translation
IS: provide tutorials to translators
ES: none

Help grow markets for l10n in their language

IC: ask them to promote the translated software in their culture
EC: find opportunities where they can promote the software
IP: ask them about
EP: make contact with organisations in their cultures
IS: none
ES: none

Improve skills and techniques for volunteers

IC: teach how to use Pootle
EC: promote our l10n guide to organisations
IP: none
EP: none
IS: keep asking if they understand
ES: none

Bring knowledge to FLOSS community

IC: ask them to interact with FLOSS projects
EC: ask FLOSS community to welcome translators
IP: give them recognition for their skills in FLOSS
EP: none
IS: none
ES: none

Influence commercial localisation of FLOSS

IC: none
EC: none
IP: ask them to tell their agency clients about FLOSS
EP: create material that promotes FLOSS among agency clients
IS: find sponsors for translating FLOSS
ES: none

Strategy maps: Volunteer translators

Promote public recognition for l10n and volunteerism

IC: ask translators permission to be credited
EC: ask software developers to credit translators
IP: keep reminding them of the value of volunteerism
EP: create posts on forums to talk about volunteerism
IS: none
ES: mention translators in press releases

Use their translations and help promote it

IC: tell them to help promote their translations
EC: ask developers to make translations more prominent on web sites
IP: help compile and create the software with translations
EP: find opportunities where translators can mention their software
IS: create marketing material for promoting it
ES: none

Get involved in those projects and advocate good l10n practice and use of free tools

IC: ask them to speak out for Pootle etc on projects' forums
EC: be involved in those forums, supporting the volunteers
IP: write guidelines about how to join the projects
EP: help set up guidelines for good l10n practice
IS: find out how free tools can be used
ES: ask free tool developers to develop support for those formats

Recruit more translators and other volunteers to participate/encourage l10n

IC: ask them to tell their friends
EC: none
IP: remind them of each new project
EP: encourage cameradrie among translators that translate together
IS: none
ES: create easy system for friends to join

Use translation tools, and become involved in support of those tools

IC: ask that they join the mailing lists etc
EC: none
IP: encourage them to submit bug reports etc
EP: tell developers to take translators seriously
IS: none
ES: none

Strategy maps: Localisation developers

Create portfolio for l10n manager in a project

IC: ask them to consider l10n manager as a separate portfolio
EC: ask on forums if active wisher wants to become l10n manager
IP: none
EP: ask on related projects about benefits of l10n manager
IS: create list of things to think about when setting up such a portfolio
ES: none

Regard l10n issues as bugs, and implement fixes

IC: tell them that l10n issues are serious
EC: get support from the community for this cause
IP: ask translators to submit bugs :-)
EP: write guidelines for helpful l10n related bug submission
IS: follow up on requested items
ES: none

Become more receptive about l10n needs

IC: none
EC: none
IP: explain that translators are often non-technical folk
EP: ask translators to get more involved in comments about l10n
IS: none
ES: none

Help improve processes for volunteers (eg less complicated, lower barriers of entry)

IC: tell them how their process can be improved
EC: none
IP: none
EP: find out what systems can be implemented
IS: add to their wikis and guidelines for translators
ES: none

Help improve 3rd party l10n tools

IC: ask them what needs they have for such tools
EC: tell such tools' developers about the discussions
IP: find out what tools the developers use
EP: find out what tools are often used by similar projects
IS: keep both parties up to date about the progress in both camps
ES: none