ADS 201 defines a project as “a group of activities designed and managed in a coordinated way to advance result(s) set forth in a CDCS (or other strategic framework) and ultimately foster lasting gains along the Journey to Self-Reliance in a country or region. Through a project approach, Missions and other OUs can create synergies among complementary activities that generate higher-level results than can be achieved through the sum of their individual performances” (ADS Chapter 201 Definitions)
Project Design is “a process undertaken by a designated Project Design Team to define a project’s boundaries, a high-level theory of change, and an adaptable plan for implementation, which results in a Project Development Document.” (ADS Chapter 201 Definitions)
A project approach is a voluntary organizational framework that—when used as intended—can help Missions design and manage complementary activities in a coordinated way to generate higher-level results than individual activities can achieve. (ADS 22.214.171.124.A)
Project designs should be derived from well-documented, rigorous analysis, including evaluations. During project design, Missions consider if a project approach is the most appropriate means to advance a given result. USAID staff may use evaluations and post-evaluation action plans to identify if linkages exist across activities in the prospective portfolio and if a project approach could help facilitate linkages and address a shared development problem.