There are no absolute rules about what makes a good indicator, but where possible your Indicators should be include the following dimensions:
- Target Group
- Quality of Change
- Quantity of Change
Features of Good Indicators: SMART
Indicators should also aim to be SMART.
Indicators need to be specific and to relate to change the project aims to bring about. Training delivered, for example, is not a specific indicator of learning.
Wherever possible, indicators should be quantitative. However, process indicators can be hard to quantify, and qualitative indicators can also be used. Even so, you should try to make these as objective and systematic as possible.
It must be possible to gather the information accurately, reliably and at reasonable cost to the project.
You should specify indicators which are appropriate to what is being measured. For example, a health Indicator might be ‘percentage of children immunised’ (indicator of services provided). Your indicators must also be appropriate to management needs.
The information for the indicator must be collected and reported at the right time to influence management thinking. Avoid choosing indicators that can only tell you at the end of an activity whether you succeeded or not. The lessons learned may be too late.