Tips: Labelling elements and appropriate granularity
You need to be as specific as possible whilst also being concise. Your finished map will contain many elements and you will want to read the element labels whilst viewing the shape of the map (or at least a portion of it). You can increase the font size from the default and make it bold, but you still need to keep the element label short and snappy.
Having said that, it will help you, both in the process of mapping and later using your map, if you can specify what is happening and by and /or to whom.
Here are some examples of good labels for a fictional permaculture organisation called GoodEarth Centre:
- GoodEarth Centre produces local organic seeds.
- GoodEarth Centre trains Key Farmers to produce seed.
- GoodEarth Centre distributes their seed varieties to Key Farmers.
- Key Farmers produce local organic seed.
- Key Farmers sell their seed to local famers.
Activity: How would you improve the following element labels?
- Produce compost.
- ABC Project trains farmers.
- The group adopts the practices that they were taught on the training course held by the project at the community centre in May 2021.
- Who produces compost?
- What were the farmers trained in?
- Some info missing and some irrelevant info detail provided (for Change Pathways) . Too long for a label. You could put some of this detail in the profile sidebar.
WARNING! When relabelling an element in Kumu, make sure that you do not have any other elements selected and are not in Focus mode. Otherwise you will accidentally relabel all of the selected elements at once to the same name!
Granularity of elements
To make your Change Pathways Map useful, you need to include enough detail, but not too much. We don’t want leaps between elements, nor do we want minute detail. We are looking for the next logical step.
You want the elements to step through the project so as to explain what happens without missing out stages or consequences (e.g. Project runs training, –>People’s livelihoods are improved, seems to miss out some stages) . On the other hand, you do not want to describe every single thing that is done by everyone (e.g. Farmer picks up a hoe –> Farmer digs a hole –> Farmer plants a plant, is probably too detailed for most projects). Finding the right balance for your project is often a case of trial and error. Start mapping and keep questioning yourself as you go along.
Looking at pairs of elements (one following the other) and asking yourself the following question can be helpful:
Does anything else need to happen in between these two steps?
If the answer is yes, try mapping it.
You are trying to reach a point where your map explains your project enough so that someone outside can understand what happens (and why), and ultimately so that you can decide which parts of the project you want or need to measure to assess the project’s impact.
Try looking at the maps produced by other projects. It varies by project, but to give an indication, the number of elements in a chain from activity to impact for the real project maps presented in this course ranges from 6 steps to 18 steps, with most threads containing 9-13 steps (elements) from activity to impact.