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Project selection and management in international development organisations


par Landry Iragi Mugaruka
University of Hertfordshire - MSc. Project Management 2014
  

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6.2 What is the nature of International Development Organisations as opposed to

traditional Organisations 51

6.3 What is the proposed framework for the selection and management of

International Development Programmes and Projects 51

7. References 53

7.1 Referred Reports 57

7.2 Reports Not Used 58

8. Personal Reflection 60

Appendix 1 APPLICATION FOR ETHICAL APPROVAL OF A STUDY INVOLVING

HUMAN PARTICIPANTS 62

Appendix 2 Dissertation Proposal 80

Appendix 3 Dissertation Log 87

Table of Figures

COOPER'S STRATEGIC PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK 9

ARCHER AND GHASEMZADEH FRAMEWORK FOR PORTFOLIO SELECTION 10

ENGLUND AND GRAHAM FRAMEWORK FOR PORTFOLIO SELECTION 12

PROPOSED ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE 44

PROPOSED WEIGHTED SCORING MODEL 46

PROPOSED FRAMEWORK FOR PROGRAMME SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT 48

PHASES 1 AND 2 OF THE PROPOSED FRAMEWORK 49

PHASES 3 AND 4 OF THE PROPOSED FRAMEWORK 50

Table of Tables

DFID CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS FUNDING (2014) 35

SUMMATIVE TABLE OF THE ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION 40

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1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Implementing Strategic Objectives through projects has been the aim of many organisations (Gardiner, 2005; Englund & Graham, 1999; and Srivannaboon & Milosevic, 2006) but many of the projects being implemented have little or no significant tie to the strategic objectives they are meant to be supporting (Englund & Graham, 1999). Selecting the right mix of projects is therefore one of the most important task in project-based organisations to ensure the achievement of their strategic objectives within their constrained resources and capabilities. Several tools and techniques which aim to help organisations select projects for their portfolios are available with each tool and technique having both advantages and disadvantages. Organisations therefore have a wide range of methods they can choose from in order to make their project selection process more effective. However, the adoption of any of these tools and techniques requires the development of a comprehensible framework that will support the organisation's portfolio selection. The importance of project selection in project-based organisations is widely recognised but as it was observed by Dye and Pennypacker (2000); a clear and formal project selection and prioritisation process is too often lacking thus leading many researchers and practitioners to develop their own project selection frameworks integrated with tools and techniques (Archer & Ghasemzadeh, 1999; Englund & Graham, 1999; and Cooper et al., 2001).

International Development Organisations are project-based organisations whose goals are in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and range from ending poverty to halting the spread of HIV and Aids. International

Development Projects differ from other projects because of the environment in which they are implemented (Ika et al., 2010) with complexity, resistance to change, competing stakeholders' agenda and the contradictory expectations of the different parties involved in the implementation of such projects (Crawford and Bryce, 2003; Diallo and Thuillier, 2005) being the factors that that have an impact on the successful implementation of such projects. The sole nature of International Development Projects in comparison to the traditional sector in which Project Management tools and techniques are used resulted in International Development

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Projects not getting enough attention in literature (Themistocleous and Wearne, 2000; Diallo and Thuillier, 2004) hence there is no clear universal framework that be used when selecting and implementing these types of projects.

1.2 Research Question

This dissertation aims to answer the following question:

«How can programmes and projects be selected and managed in an International Development Organisation to ensure the successful implementation of its strategy?»

1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Dissertation

This dissertation aims to highlight how some the principles of Project Portfolio Management can be applied when implementing international development projects. After working for two years in an International Development Organisation in East Africa, I came to the realisation that our biggest challenge was the selection of the right mix of projects that were in line with our three strategic pillars: Access to Markets, Competitive Enhancement and Access to Finance. The only way through which we could make it possible for the different organisations working with us to benefit from our support (both technical and financial) was through the implementation of projects. The projects were brought to us by the local organisations and the only tool we used to rank and prioritize these projects was a Balanced Scorecard which in our case only measured the managerial capabilities of the local organisations; in other words we used it to judge whether or not the given organisation was able to manage the project's budget and if there was a person within the organisation capable of ensuring the successful implementation of the project. The tool we used to select and prioritize projects did not guarantee that the selected project would be completed within the agreed time, scope, and budget nor that the project deliverables would be in line with our strategic objectives. This led me to conclude that our selection process was not effective enough and its lack of effectiveness had a direct impact on the way the projects were implemented and their successful completion. The importance of project portfolio selection and management, how proper portfolio management leads to the successful implementation of corporate strategies and how project portfolio management principles and processes can be applied when selecting and managing International Development Projects will be discussed throughout this dissertation. The objectives of this dissertation are:

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- to understand how project portfolio selections can applied within an organisation

- to understand the nature of International Development Organisations as

opposed to traditional project-based organisations, and

- to propose a framework for the selection and management of programmes

and projects in International Development Organisations

1.4 Research Scope

The focus of this dissertation is the selection and management of International Development projects with the aim of developing a framework that can be used by International Development Organisations worldwide. Project management and Project Portfolio Management have been accepted by both academics and practitioners as being respectively about «doing the project right» and «doing the right project» (Cooke-Davies, 2002; & PMI, 2004, 2006), it is therefore important for International Development Organisations to be able to select the right mix of projects and manage them accordingly in order to achieve their strategic objectives.

Turner (1994) observed that Western-oriented tools and techniques of project management can not a be applied in non-western countries because of the different cultural differences hence both the project selection and management tools and techniques used have to consider these cultural differences.

This dissertation will review the Project Portfolio Management literature with an emphasis on the different tools, techniques and frameworks it proposes and the impact they have on the successful implementation of corporate strategies. A review of literature on of International Development organisations will also be conducted to understand both the nature of this type of organisation, some of the critical success factors for development projects, and some of the challenges faced when implementing these projects.

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