PROJECT MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Meaning of a project
It is an venture in which material, human, and financial resources that are prearranged in a way to assume a unique range of work, of a particular specification in the constraints of time, cost and current milieu in order to attain favorable change described by qualitative and quantitative achievement.
It is a finite or limited investment package of resources i.e. finance, equipment and personnel designed to achieve a particular set of economic and social; objectives within a specified duration of time.
Categories of projects
Projects have the following categories according to various aspects:
Size -productive capacity: They fall into 3 categories large, medium and small
Agents - the people who undertake the initiative to create them. They can either be public or private
Sector- agricultural, industrial, transportation
Characteristic of a project
Has a clearly identifiable start and finish
Has a specific aim
Results to something being achieved
Is the responsibility of a single or group of people
Involves costs, resources and time
Project Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring is the organized, occasional analysis and regular collection of info to identify and measure change over a set amount of time.
Evaluation can be defined as the study of the direction and effectiveness of an action which involves making a decision about development and impact.
The key difference between monitoring and evaluation is the frequency and timing of observations and also the kind of questions asked. However, when monitoring and evaluation are incorporated as a tool of project management tool their difference becomes very clear.
Why monitor and evaluate?
The point of monitoring and evaluation is:
To appraise project outcomes – to gather information on whether the objectives are resulting to your desired goal and if they are being met
To advance project management and the process planning –To help in adopting of abstract risk factors that include social and power dynamics that may affect the research process.
To promote learning-To help in determining lessons that are of general applicability and also learn on how diverse approaches to participation may affect impacts, research and outcomes of participatory research.
To comprehend diverse stakeholder’s viewpoints-Due t their participation in this process various stakeholders affected by the project get to understand each other’s view point therefore creating harmony.
To guarantee accountability- People must be accountable for their actions and roles throughout the project.
Efficiency, relevance and effectiveness
Underlying reasons for monitoring and evaluating are frequently framed in terms of:
It refers to overall amount of resources and time that has been injected to the project relative to the outcomes and outputs. An evaluation of the project is meant to find out whether there was a less time consuming, cost effective approach to getting to the same goal. Getting better output by using minimal inputs
Relevance or appropriateness
Relevance describes flexibility, usefulness and the ethics of a project within a particular concept.
Effectiveness if the process used in research was vital in attaining the project objectives and goals or they had a positive outcome.
The tree factors when combines enable decision making on whether the outcomes and outputs were worth the inputs used. The three can also be considered for varying tools, methods and approaches not only for questioning total value of the research approach.
a) Project planning is an endeavor in which human, financial and material resources are organized in a better way to undertake a unique scope of work of a given specifications within constraints of time, cost and quality so as to achieve intended goals and qualities.
b) Project planning is an institutionalized activity comprising of a series of predetermined and coordinated actions and processes for carrying out operations for identification preparation, appraisal and implementation of projects.
c) Project planning is a process involving the listing in details what is required to successfully complete a given project along the three critical dimensions of time, cost and quality within a prevailing environment.
Getting underway with project planning
A critical and influential stage is the selection and identification of projects of interest. Prioritizing of projects follows this. This phase is crucial in influencing projects sustainability hence important to involve stakeholders. The following sequence of activities gets to flow smoothly underway:
Identify projects of interest
Study, discuss and analyze the project
Write project definition
Set an end result objective
List imperatives and desirables
Generate alternative strategies
Choose a course for action
Project planning process
The following steps are critical in the planning process of any project:
i. Establish he projects objectives
ii. Choose the basic strategy for achieving the objectives
iii. Break projects into sub-units
iv. Determine the performance standards for each unit
v. Determine the required time to accomplish the project
vi. Determine the proper sequence of completing the sub-units and aggregate project
vii. Design the cost of the project
viii. Establish the required resources
ix. Assign duties and responsibilities
x. Develop the necessary policies and procedures, and
xi. Determine the yardsticks for evaluating the outcome.
Note: project design is the starting point of project evaluation because it establishes the aim, plan, and the means of measuring progress and the external conditions tha are likely to affect the project.
The role of project planning
Project planning can largely be attributed to the desire to improve the implementation performance of project plans. Thorough project planning is particularly in the case of certain categories of project including those which require large sums of money, those which involve different agencies and those which involve activities which are new or experimental in nature.
There are several functions of project planning:
· It offers a foundation for categorizing the labor of the venture and assigning responsibilities
· This is a way of communicating and coordination among all that will take part in the project.
· It encourages people to further on
· It instills a sense of necessity and time awareness
· This establishes the foundation for monitoring and control
Comprehensive project planning covers the following areas:
- Planning the project work: the activities related to the project need to be spelt out in detail to properly schedule the sequence manner.
- Planning the manpower and organization i.e. the manpower required for the project
- Planning the money - costing of the project.
- Planning the information system- information required for monitoring the project must be required.
Components of a project
During the projects life management and planning, focus is done on three key issues – quality, cost and time. A successfully managed project is one that is completed at a specified level of quality, on or before a deadline and within the budget. Each of the above parameters is specified in detail during the planning phase of the project. These specifications then form the basis for control during the implementation phase.
QUALITY COST TIME
Specifications budget Schedule
Planning the quality parameter
The goal of quality planning is to ensure that the output of the project will perform as expected. The quality aspect also establishes the criteria of performance but which the project output will be measured when it is completed.
In planning the quality dimension include specifications for the quality and types of materials to be used, the performance standards t o be met, and the means of verifying quality such as testing and inspection. There are two techniques that facilitate planning for quality
i. A work breakdown structure: it is a tool used to define and group a project's disconnect work elements in a manner which helps put in order and define the whole work scope of the project
ii. A project specification: this is the definition of your project: a statement of the problem, not the solution. Normally, the specification contains errors, ambiguities, misunderstandings, etc.
The objective when planning time dimension is to determine the shortest time necessary to complete the project. One need to start with the work breakdown structure and determine the time required to complete each sub-unit. Next determine which sub-units must be completed and which ones may be underway at the same time. From this kind of analysis you will have determined the three most significant time elements:
i. The duration of each step
ii. The earliest time at which a step maybe started
iii. The latest time at which a step may be started.
Planning the time dimension can only be done by people who have experience with the same or similar activities. If you do not know how long it takes you need to rely on someone else.
Planning the cost dimension
There are many reason s for being careful while planning for project costs. To begin with if you overestimate cost you may lose the job before you begin because you are not competitive. A good plan includes the identification of sources of supplies and materials, and this careful research assures that the costs are realistic. The main function of a good budget is to monitor the costs of the project while it is progress and to avoid cost overruns.
Some inaccuracies in the budget are inevitable, but they should not be consequences of insufficient work on the original plan. The goal is usually to be as realistic as possible.
Typical cost component need to include:
Labor – the wages and salaries paid to all employees directly working on the project for the growth period of the project.
Overhead – the cost of payroll taxes and fridge benefits for everyone directly working on the project for the time spent on it, usually calculated as a percentage of direct labor cost.
Materials- cost of items purchased in the project e.g. cement. Bolts, screws,, sand, etc.
Supplies- the cost of tools, equipment, and office supplies, etc, needed for the project.
General and administration- the cost of management and support services such as purchasing, accounting, secretarial, etc for the time dedicated to the project usually calculated as a percentage of the project cost.