World Bank
Report Year
1st MAR Year

Promote Adaptiveness:
- Encourage adaptiveness in project design and implementation by heightening senior management's focus on the main lessons learned from past experiences--both successes and failures at key stages of the project cycle.
- Make it easier and more attractive for teams to restructure their projects (including by considering bold solutions such as making restructuring the default and putting the onus of explaining why a project was not restructured on the Practice Manager under whom the project falls).
- Develop pilot approaches for possible future replication that incorporate fast feedback loops, for example, rapid results or other such approaches.

Recommendation Adoption
IEG Rating by Year: mar-rating-popup MSNTNT Management Rating by Year: mar-rating-mng-popup HHNTNT
NANot Accepted
NRNot Rated
Findings Conclusions

Lessons learned in the course of managing projects can spur course corrections in the life of a single project and design evolution over the course of a series of projects.
One adaptiveness shortfall is the resistance to early, Level 1 restructuring of poorly performing projects. The introduction of the split-outcome rating in 2005 did not increase the frequency or the timeliness of restructuring, even though the evidence also shows little support for the common staff perception that restructuring necessarily leads to a downgrade of the Outcome rating by IEG.

Original Management Response

WB: Partially Agree. While Management agrees with the critical importance of promoting adaptiveness, there are a number of issues in the proposed specific actions.
Senior Management already considers lessons from past experiences, including at Corporate project reviews and regular portfolio meetings. More broadly, Management is taking many important steps to ensure that lessons from successes and failures are taken into account. The creation of the role of Global Leads and the new ToRs for the peer review process are two such steps.
Level 2 restructuring allows for significant modifications to a project within the given PDO, and has been an important and versatile tool for project adaptability. Rather than making restructuring the "default" and entering into a project expecting to restructure it soon, Management believes that building maximum flexibility in the original project design and minimizing the need to amend legal agreements is an approach that is more conducive to learning, course-correction and adaptability.

Action Plans
Action 1
Action 1 Number:
Action 1 Title:
Action 5e: Bankwide institutionalization of KM Action Plan experiments
Action 1 Plan:

Bankwide institutionalization of KM Action Plan experiments to provide easy access to lessons learned from similar projects at different stages of the project cycle

Action 2
Action 2 Number:
Action 2 Title:
Action 5: Promote adaptiveness, by systematically learning from implementation and delivery
Action 2 Plan:

Action 5: Promote adaptiveness, by systematically learning from implementation and delivery
Indicator: In the context of the Global Delivery Initiative, develop and publish case studies on adaptive implementation
Baseline: 0 case studies published
Target: 20 case studies in 5 GPs
Timeline: Q1FY17

Action 3
Action 3 Number:
Action 3 Title:
Action 5b: New Multiphase Programmatic Approach for IPF and P4R
Action 3 Plan:

New Multiphase Programmatic Approach for IPF and P4R allows subsequent phases to be informed by earlier ones

Action 4
Action 4 Number:
Action 4 Title:
Action 5c: Recent changes to faciliate IPF and P4R
Action 4 Plan:

Recent changes to operational policies to faciliate IPF and P4R restructuring fosters adaptability

Action 5
Action 5 Number:
Action 5 Title:
Action 5d: Launch of Agile Program
Action 5 Plan:

Launch of Agile Program to catalyze and scale up innovation and learning from doing's note the program’s emphasis on change management and adaptiveness

Action 6
Action 7
Action 8
IEG Update:
No Updates
Management Update:
No Updates
IEG Update:
No Updates
Management Update:
No Updates
IEG Update:

The Bank has taken a number of steps to facilitate adaptiveness in project design and implementation, not least the Global Delivery Initiative, Agile Program, Multi-phase Programmatic Approach, and delegating Level-One project restructuring to Bank Management. These are, however, recent steps whose performance must be measured. By themselves, they may or may not prove adequate in fostering adaptiveness. Evidence that adaptive project implementation is actually occurring with strong feedback loops and iterative learning during supervision, and that the Bank is actively learning both from positive and negative experiences would be helpful as the various initiatives gain momentum.

Management Update:

A number of important actions have been taken to enhance adaptiveness, flexibility and agility in the design and implementation of Bank operations. The Executive Directors recently approved: (i) the Multiphase Programmatic Approach (MPA) for Investment Project Financing (IPF) and Program for Results (PforR) and (ii) changes to World Bank's operational policies on restructuring for IPF and PforR. One advantage of the MPA approach is better matching of financial commitments to client needs, reducing undisbursed balances, and hence a more efficient use of IBRD and IDA resources. Another important feature is the greater potential for learning and adaptation, as subsequent phases will be informed by lessons learned in previous ones. To speed up the response time to clients who request level-one restructurings, the Board also agreed to delegate to Management the authority to approve: (i) restructurings that involve Project Development Objective changes and (ii) IPF restructurings that involve triggering of a new safeguard policy. Additionally, as noted above, the ICR template has been simplified and has a stronger focus on lessons learned so that the Bank can improve the quality and effectiveness of future projects. Finally, a simplified Project Appraisal Document has also been designed and tested by the pilot units and will be rolled out this Fall. A key driver and facilitator of these efforts in the Agile Program launched in mid-FY17, with the goal of bringing greater value to our clients and more satisfaction to staff by moving "efforts and resources from internal process to the front line." The program coordinates agile efforts in the Bank and supports teams in developing, designing and testing solutions. The Agile Program began with three pilots: Africa Transport & ICT, Europe and Central Asia Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management and South Asia Health, Nutrition & Population. In FY18, the Bank is scaling up agile and the testing of solutions across global practices and regions. Many other innovations are being tested that will be scaled up if successful, including a new Implementation Status and Results Report and logbook, risk-based project preparation, experiments with better mission management, a new approach to the Systematic Country Diagnostic, and approaches to dealing with problem projects. Management is tracking the impact of the pilots, including through the client satisfaction and employee engagement surveys. A key feature of the Agile Program is its attention to change management considerations, including the development of successive cohorts of Agile Fellows to ensure the infusion of the approach into the operational pool and the building of a community of Agile ambassadors and influencers. Further signaling the institutional commitment to Agile, the program is located in the Open Space next to the EXC suite, and includes a hot-desking space to encourage the exchange of ideas and suggestions for making the Bank more agile and innovative. As more country management units and practices move towards an Agile approach, the Bank is looking to strengthen the network of Agile champions, to make sure implementation and decisions are taken by each unit as they better apply to the local context. The GDI has finalized and published 28 Case Studies, which were prepared with 8 GPs finalized and published 29 Delivery Notes, prepared from case studies of external organizations and edited 19 hypermedia video testimonials. It has also developed a training program emphasizing case-writing skills and adaptive learning approaches for practitioners. A number of new GDI products have also been introduced that are helping to advance more adaptive practice: e.g. the GDI knowledge-sharing platform a text analytics data base on implementation challenges -DeCODE- from 5,000 ICRs documents a toolkit depository of 40 tools for adaptive implementation and practitioners' profiles of more than 90 experts. In terms of facilitating faster feedback loops, one of the KMAP pilots already ongoing involves the systematic preparation of knowledge packets encapsulating lessons from the experience of completed operations by a central team, which will then be made available to operational teams as they initiate new similar tasks.

IEG Update:

IEG notes that the Global Delivery Initiative (GDI) has published 23 case studies and that GDI is also developing a learning program that will emphasize case-writing skills and adaptive learning approaches for practitioners. A self-assessment by the Bank that shows that staff effectively incorporate lessons from past experience (their own and others) at relevant stages of the project cycle so that past mistakes are avoided, past successes are replicated with appropriate customization, and outcomes of Bank projects improve, and that project adaptation and restructuring (Level One and Two) are undertaken as necessary and in a timely way would be helpful.

Management Update:

GDI has finalized and published 23 case studies, which were prepared with 8 GPs. GDI is also developing a learning program that will emphasize case-writing skills and adaptive learning approaches for practitioners.