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

Why Conduct a PMA?

A project management appraisal should be viewed as a useful, constructive and necessary diagnostic tool available for augmenting the capability of the sponsoring organization's project management team. It can be used to provide information ranging from an informal enquiry to an extensive analysis of the effectiveness of every aspect of the project management process. In the latter context it can be conducted to ferret out common failings of many project management arrangements. Some of these common failings include:

  • Management on the project may be unable to see the forest for the trees.
  • Decisions may be being unduly biased by contractual commitments already in existence, rather than being made in the best interests of the final project results
  • Decisions may be similarly biased unduly by corporate policy
  • Short term political expediency may be overwhelming (Crisis management)
  • Key individuals on the project may be under the influence of some form of illegal pressure
  • Management on the project may simply be naive, inexperienced, lack sufficient training in project management skills, or otherwise ill prepared for the difficult tasks at hand

PMA can therefore be used to:

  • Identify the strengths of current practices in a project management organization, or on an existing project
  • Establish how various groups within the organization perceive the organization's effectiveness in managing projects
  • Examine the effectiveness of project communication and documentation, and clarify the relationships between project scope, quality, time and cost
  • Identify barriers to better performance, or critical skills needed by project managers or their supporting teams to increase their effectiveness
  • Identify sooner specific aspects which require improvement and hence speed the achievement of results
  • Provide for an exchange of ideas, information, problems, solutions and strategies with project team members, and thus develop a plan of action for carrying out improvements
  • Help to create a supportive environment focusing on project success, and the professional growth of project team members

Thus, by conducting a PMA in a timely and favorable manner, potential difficulties can be identified and brought out into the open for appropriate corrective action. Better still, potential problems may be circumvented altogether, if the concept and timing of a PMA is built into the project plan from the outset.

Project Management Appraisal (PMA)  Project Management Appraisal

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