By this stage in the process, you may have considered various means objectives when creating the objectives hierarchy. With enough specificity, some of them may qualify as management actions or activities as defined here.
In CRAFT, designing alternatives occurs in two phases. In the first phase, a set of alternatives (including a no-action alternative) are prepared for later analysis in the Modeling Effects stage. An analysis of effects may suggest modification of one or more of the alternatives, or even creation of additional new alternatives. In this case, you will return to this stage in CRAFT.
In planning parlance, an alternative is an action or set of actions that are designed to help achieve specific management objectives. As you built an objectives hierarchy, various means objectives or actions were identified that would contribute to more fundamental objectives. In this stage, further details will be added to these actions and they will be grouped into a set of alternatives.
Consider the following when designing alternatives:
- For each objective or group of objectives in the objectives hierarchy, identify types of actions that would have the desired effect. Review the causal pathways among variables in the conceptual model. How might you intervene favorably in any of these pathways?
- Define two or more options for addressing each objective. These may be different activity types or different levels, strategies, or approaches for the same activity type, or modifications to ongoing management activities. If there is already a proposed action, show how the activities that comprise it would align with the measures in the objectives.
- Group actions into alternatives. If there are competing objectives (perhaps reflecting different stakeholder values), consider developing alternatives that favor different groupings of objectives, i.e., strive to achieve different balances among objectives in each alternative.
- In contrast, try to achieve the same balance of objectives by different groupings of actions.
- If you need to revise alternatives based on the effects analysis, look for simple adjustments first. If major revisions are needed, revisit the conceptual model and objectives hierarchy to see if erroneous or inconsistent logic led to problems.
- Be bold. Do not let preconceptions about what is "best" limit design options.
For each alternative, try to be specific as to how, where, what, and when actions will occur. As you begin to model effects, you will have to make detailed assumptions about each modeled action. It is best to make assumptions early and explicitly, so that there is less confusion during modeling.
Record results and locate activities on a map if appropriate.
If you require further assistance in designing or refining action alternatives, go to Specifying Alternatives in Wizard.
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