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Project selection and management in international development organisations

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

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University of Hertfordshire Business School

Masters of Science in Project Management

Project Selection and Management in International Development Organisations

Author: Landry Iragi Mugaruka

Student No: 12019699

Supervisor: Mike J. Herman

Submission Date: 23rd September 2014 Ethics Number: BUS/PG/UH/00502


I would like to register my deepest appreciation to my supervisor Mr. Mike J. Herman for being an instrumental part of my dissertation research. His availability, guidance and direction made everything much easier and I learned a great deal under his stewardship.

My sincerest thanks also go to my parents Gaspard and Denise, who have been eternally supportive and provided me with invaluable input throughout my course work. Warm thanks are also due to my siblings Tino, Serge, Rabi, Clovis, Urbain and Linda for their useful recommendations and inspiration.

Finally, I dedicate this thesis to my lovely daughter Leyla, from whom I get endless inspiration to do the very best.


Selecting programmes and projects that are in line with strategic goals and objectives has been described as the primary objective of organisations today. For International Development Organisations, selecting the right mix of projects is even more crucial because of their purpose, the specific nature of the programmes and projects they implement and the environment in which they operate. This dissertation proposes a simple and flexible multilevel Framework, based on the principles of Project Portfolio Management, that can be used when selecting and implementing development programmes and projects while at the same time ensuring that they are in line with the strategic orientation of the implementing organisation.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgement i

Abstract iii

Table of Contents iv

Table of Figures vi

Table of Tables vi

1. Introduction 1

1.1 Background 1

1.2 Research Question 2

1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Dissertation 2

1.4 Research Scope 3

2. Literature Review 4

2.1 Project Portfolio Management 4

2.1.1 What is Project Portfolio Management 4

2.1.2 Corporate Strategy 5

2.1.3 Project Portfolio Selection Process 6

2.1.4 Project Selection Tools and Techniques 7

2.1.5 Decision Support for Portfolio Selection 8

2.2 International Development Organisations 13

2.2.1 Nature of International Development Projects (ID) 13

2.2.2 Approaches to managing International Development Projects 14

2.2.3 Critical success factors for International Development Projects 17

3. Methodology 19

3.1 Research Philosophy 19

3.1.1 Epistemology 19

3.1.2 Ontology 20

3.1.3 Axiology 21

3.2 Research Approach 21

3.3 Research Design and Strategy 22

3.3.1 Research Design 22

3.3.2 Research Strategy 23

3.4 Time Horizons 25

3.5 Limitations 25

4. Findings and Analysis 27

4.1 Findings 27

4.1.1 Action Aid International 27

4.1.2 OXFAM UK 29

4.1.3 Plan International 31

4.1.4 Christian Aid UK 32

4.1.5 Water Aid UK 34

4.2 Funding of International Development Organisations 35

4.3 Analysis 36

4.3.1 Strategy 36

4.3.2 Project Selection and Management 37

4.3.3 Selection Criteria 40

5. Recommendations 42

5.1 Programme Selection Committee 42

5.2 Selection and Management Tools 44

5.3 Programme and Project Selection Framework 47

6. Conclusion 51

6.1 How is Project Portfolio Selection applied within an Organisation 51

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