A paper presented to the International Seminar on Project Management for Developing Countries, September 4 to 6, 1991, in New Delhi, India. The audience was made up of mostly construction people, but much of the following content could equally apply to large projects in other areas of application.

Executive Summary  | Index | Part 1 | Part 2 | Conclusions | References

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 objectives.

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.

Should PMA be Conducted?  When Should PMA be Conducted?

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