Project Monitoring and Evaluation
AONCE a project has commenced, the project stakeholders must ensure that the project is implemented as planned in terms of scope, schedule and cost. The project plan will set out what needs to be done, by whom, when it is to be done and the resources requirements to achieve the plan. The project stakeholders need to continue to assess how the project is performing to ensure that that the project benefits are delivered. The purpose is to ensure that feed back on performance is provided to the project management team to allow corrective action to be taken to keep the project on track. Monitoring and evaluation is used primarily to achieve project control.
Project Monitoring – Project monitoring is the continuous assessment of the project execution process related schedules, scope, quality and resources by the project management team or other parties delegated with that responsibility. Monitoring provides stakeholders with continuous feed back to assess potential successes and failures as early as they are identified to allow for timely adjustment to the project plan. Monitoring is a continuous process and is carried out throughout the life of the project to generate feedback. It is done to ensure that actions are promptly taken to improve project performance. Effective monitoring of projects requires project baseline data clear objectives of what to monitor and definition of responsibilities.
Project Evaluation – Project Evaluation is the periodic assessment of project related relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and risk factors as they relate to the defined project objectives. Evaluation could be interim, mid-term and final evaluations. To evaluate a project is to try to determine if the project outcomes are acceptable in terms of the project intended goals and objectives. The result of the evaluations enables the management to decide on how to proceed with the project. Monitoring and evaluation is increasingly being used as a valuable tool to improve project performance in the public and private sectors. It provides a basis for accountability on the use of project resources. If used carefully, it can it can help to improve project design and implementation to strengthen partnership with the project sponsors.
Key Tools and Techniques for Monitoring and Evaluations
Work Plan and Project Schedules: The work plan and schedules are used to identify the project activities and the timeline for achieving them including the people and the resources. Work plan and schedules highlights critical project milestones that may require special attention during implementation. They are used for planning daily and weekly work activities. They can serve as a tool for monitoring the progress in the achievement of the intended project outputs. The project schedule will indicate the project phases, milestones, task lists, their durations, etc. It is periodically updated and is a good indication of the health of the project. Critical path analysis is used to identify the activities in the implementation process that may have large impact on the overall success of the project. Well prepared work plans and schedules are valuable tools for monitoring the performance of a project.
Stakeholder’s Interview: The stakeholders are the organisations and people that are directly involve in the delivering of the project benefits and the target beneficiaries of the project outputs. Interviews with key project stakeholders will reveal relevant information including their level of involvement in the project planning and implementation. A monitoring and evaluation process must aim to get feedback from the project stakeholders. Non involvement of stakeholders is an important factor implicated in project failures.
Scheduled Field Visits: The field visits provide the stakeholders with the opportunity to make a firsthand assessment of the project progress. Field visits and their frequency should be planned to avoid the disruption of project activities. Prior to the field visits, project records like the updated progress reports, schedules, work plans, purchasing records, progress payments should be reviewed to ascertain conformance to plan. It is important to take photographs of the activities that are in progress and observe construction activities including the equipment and personnel.