What Should be Included in the PMA?
The scope of a PMA may be as extensive or limited as circumstances
indicate. However, it is important to appreciate that there are
at least three separate dimensions which may be covered by any such
study of the project. Each may have equal importance to its final
outcome and success.
The first consideration relates to the Technical Objectives of
the project as represented by its Scope and Quality parameters.
These are both areas which require specific management attention
not just in terms of technological content, which of course is of
fundamental importance, but also in terms of managing and controlling
the development of the content, consistent with the overall project
Sometimes, scope and quality are referred to as performance requirements.
However, since the quality of the end products need to be designed
in right from the start (and not merely "inspected-in"
during construction), and further that quality is a separate variable
which may very well be impacted by the standards and prevailing
attitudes of those on the project, it is far preferable to give
each separate and specific attention.
The second dimension of the project relates to the business management
objectives as represented by its time and cost parameters. How often
is heard the cry that the project is late in delivery and over budget,
particularly when it comes to large publicly funded projects! Indeed,
the mark of a successful project is often characterized as one which
is "on-time" and "on (or under) budget". Yet
these are by no means necessarily the most important criteria, especially
if they lead to compromising the project's scope and quality.
There are many documented examples of projects, particularly energy
projects, which were on time and budget, but which were not necessarily
considered successful simply because they did not subsequently perform
up to expectations. Conversely, there are also examples of projects
which ended up substantially over time and cost targets, but which
were nevertheless viewed as significant successes because of their
satisfactory long term economic and/or social return.
The third dimension, which is much more difficult to grasp, has
to do with "stakeholder satisfaction" and their collective
perception of the success of the project.
Depending on the nature of the project, the stakeholders may be
many and various. In the case of, say, a private manufacturing facility,
obviously the owners and operators of the facility are the key stakeholders,
together with the users of the particular product. In the case of
a large infra-structure project such as an irrigation system or
a transportation network, a large sector of the population may be
impacted, particularly those who may be displaced by the new development.
Thus, the stakeholders will extend to those who are physically impacted
and more than likely politically active.
If a majority of the principal (or most vocal) stakeholders feel
that they have achieved a net benefit, then, notwithstanding cost
and schedule overruns, the project may still be considered a success.
Therefore, a complete Project Management Appraisal should take
all these considerations into account. If this is the case, and
clearly different disciplines are involved, then a small team of
experts will be necessary.