Is your project successful when all activities are implemented and all outputs are achieved? How do you measure the achievements of your outcomes? Are the indicators showing you the progress, or are they achieved when, again, all activities are implemented?
So, it basically comes down to the question “how to measure the progress correctly”.
In other words: do we follow a “results” or an “implementation logic”?
From a monitoring perspective, the progress is of course measured with indicators. This is why we have them. In a good monitoring system, you should have indicators on all levels: Starting from your target/objective, to outcomes, to outputs, or other levels if you are not following the logframe logic.
In practice, we usually see a mixture of results and implementation logic. In an early stage of a project cycle the indicator could show zero progress as they need to be fulfilled at the end of the project. In this case, it is of course nicer to show some progress based on implemented activities, as the project started and you are not sitting around idle.
Our monitoring software WebMo is made from practitioners for practitioners and we offer both: We are following the monitoring logic and the progress of outcomes and outputs is measured based on the respective indicators. We call this qualitative assessment where you can in addition assess the progress on your project manually based on all data and give a short explanation.