On which Projects Should PMA be Conducted?
Some will argue that many projects, even large ones, are completed
without any major difficulty and achieve their objectives quite
satisfactorily. PMA therefore represents an unnecessary added cost,
and for such projects this is probably true - but only in retrospect.
Much more likely, such projects have in place some sort of PMA mechanism,
which is the very reason why the results are indeed successful.
At the very least, there is merit in conducting even a very minimal
PMA simply to capture the ways and means for repeating such success
on future similar projects.
On the other hand, the reality is that capital projects generally
are becoming larger, more technology intensive, more complex, more
urgent and financially more vulnerable. And all this is taking place
in the context of increasingly technical specialization and consequently
diminishing pool of talent that has the necessary broader construction
project management training and experience.
Clearly, PMA is best suited to those projects on which there is
significant risk of potential difficulties. This presupposes that
the sponsoring organization has recognized the potential for risk
on the project, and has, or will include risk management as a standard
functional component of the project management effort.
Project risk management is a recognized project management functional
area whose purpose is to identify, analyze and plan for, or protect
against, various risk factors which may occur to the detriment of
the project results. The responsibility of this function is to respond
in a manner which is in the best interests of the project objectives.
For such an enlightened sponsor, it is but a small step to involve
the PM Appraiser in the project risk identification stage of the
project planning phase. In this way the mandate for the PMA can
be determined, be it extensive or limited, and corresponding funding
set aside as part of the sponsor's own budget for the project.