Project Management Overview
Project prioritization is of critical importance to organizations. An organization may have a list of projects to undertake yet there exist time and resource constraints. It may be difficult to make decisions on which projects to undertake first and which to come later. This calls for an objective and structured approach in dealing with such a situation in order to serve in the best interests of all stakeholders including customers, suppliers, and owners.
The World Bank Group (2014) report focuses on ways in which organizations can prioritize projects. The report identifies ten prioritization procedures that organizations can use in project management. The report focuses on prioritizing public investment projects such as infrastructure development. According to the report, it is important that a clear prioritization structure is established to enhance objectivity and minimize political influence. The report indicates that the first principle is to ensure the project aligns with the country’s long-term strategic vision. The project should also ensure maximum social, economic and environmental impact. Another important consideration is the life-cycle of the assets used in the project so as to manage costs. The cross-sectoral impacts of projects is considered since public projects may impact more than one area of the economy. Public projects require analysis of reliable data and backing from various political parties and stakeholders. Financing of projects should come from different sectors such as public and private sectors. These sectors should optimize delivery of the project. Lastly, evaluation of ongoing projects should be conducted.
Kipper (2014) analyzes the application of scoring method in prioritizing projects. This article first establishes five critical stages of any project which are listed as initiation, planning, performance, control and closure. In the management of a project, the goal is to put available resources to best use possible. Key decisions are made based on attractiveness (expected returns) of a project and its alignment with organizational objectives. In most organizations, projects are meant to increase the value of the company. Thus in prioritizing projects in organizations, the financial gain is important. Return on Investment (ROI) is used to prioritize projects in such cases. ROI measures a project’s returns with relation to invested capital. Net Present Value (NPV) is another criteria used to prioritize projects. NPV assesses the future streams of income from a particular project. Mathematical models are applied in complex projects to assess their profitability. Benefits are also assessed through various approaches such as cash flow analysis, economic models, contribution methods, and cost-benefit analysis.
From the above, there are quite a number of notable differences. In the article by World Bank Group (2014), prioritization of projects depends on whether they align with the country’s strategic vision. In the article by Kipper (2014), there is no need for alignment with the strategic vision of a country. According to the World Bank Group, projects should maximize social, economic, and environmental benefits. Majority of organizations does not take this into consideration since projects are meant to give maximum returns. In public projects, there is concern about the impact of a project across various sectors. In Kipper’s article, organizations do not assess the impacts of a project across sectors. Another outstanding difference in the articles is the purpose of the projects. From the World Bank Group article, priority of projects depends on whether they provide maximum benefits to the community. According to Kipper, projects are prioritized depending on the maximum returns or yields expected.
Urgency is of great importance while undertaking projects, whether in the public or private sector. Projects are expected to meet budgets and timelines established during the planning stages. Urgency is one of the greatest sources of pressure during the implementation of a project. In order to create a sense of urgency and help in keeping time, a project plan is developed which details the various stages of a project and expected timelines for completion of various activities. There are high costs in delaying the expected benefits from various projects. Time delays have significant impacts on the cost implications of a project. The longer a project takes to be completed the more costs are incurred. There are a number of measures established in order to mitigate risks associated with time delays. A common approach is the use of punitive damages whereby the contractor is forced to pay particular amounts to the client in the event that a project is long overdue and the contractor is liable.
Time delays in project management may lead to sustainability issues since the costs may go high beyond the planned budget. There are a number of tools that are used in timing of projects. Some of these tools include resource allocation charts, Gantt charts, work breakdown structures, and others. Project management requires a careful analysis of the time taken to complete particular project tasks and the entire span in which the entire project is expected to last. Timing in project involves estimation, meaning certain projects may take longer than expected while others may take a relatively shorter period.
Kipper, L. M. (2014). The Use of Scoring Method for Prioritizing the Project Portfolio. Journal of Management Research, 6(1): 2-14.
World Bank Group. (2014). Prioritizing Projects to Enhance Development Impact. University of Toronto. Retrieved from: www.g20.utoronto.ca/…/6%20Prioritizing%20Proj.