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The five recommended complexity-aware monitoring approaches may not work for everyone in every situation. You may wish to modify your current monitoring methods to make them more complexity-aware. The three complexity-aware monitoring principles are intended to guide you in that process.  When you apply these principles to your own situation, you may discover new monitoring solutions.  

The five recommended approaches alone are not sufficiently complexity-aware. They must be applied in a manner consistent with these principles in order to effectively steer complex aspects of projects.  

Venn Diagram showing overlap between boundaries, perspectives, and inter-relationshipsThe resources to your right explain how to apply the three principles of complexity-aware monitoring, which are briefly described below.  

  1. Consider interrelationships, perspectives, and boundaries 
    Interrelationships, perspectives, and boundaries are three key systems concepts that refer to 1) the structures, processes, and exchanges that link actors and factors within a system, 2) different perspectives within a system, and 3) what is in and what is outside the system.

  2. Synchronize monitoring with the pace of change
    Synchronizing monitoring with the pace of change ensures that information is available at the right time to inform adaptive management in dynamic settings.  
  3. Attend to performance monitoring’s three blind spots
    Performance monitoring focuses on measuring the progress toward desired results by means of predetermined implementation plans. Consequently, performance monitoring often fails to capture 1) outcomes outside of those desired and documented by the project planners, 2) alternative causes of outcomes, and 3) a fuller range of non-linear pathways of contribution. Complexity-aware monitoring enhances performance monitoring systems by attending to these blind spots.  

The complexity-aware monitoring principles have much in common with the Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) approach being promoted as part of the Program Cycle within USAID.