Post Project Evaluation: The unique characteristic of every project is it has a finite life. The final phase of the project is termination. Project termination includes series of activities that is consistent with closing out the project. The project can be terminated for a variety of reasons such as termination by extinction, addition, integration and starvation. In the termination by extinction, the project is either successfully completed or has failed. In addition activity, the project becomes the formal part of the parent organisation.
Integration is a complex activity; project resources are reintegrated, distributed and absorbed by the parent company. Termination by starvation is withdrawal of money support from project. The elements of project close-out management include providing acceptance of the project by the sponsor, completion of project records, proper revision and final issue of documentation to reflect final condition of project. It is necessary to retain essential project documents. It is important to conduct an in-depth analysis of lesson learned from errors.
Effective communication and promoting healthy interaction is the lasting benefit from a lesson learned meeting. The goal of lesson learned meeting is to recapitulate events objectively in different viewpoints. The meeting should focus on solving problems. The close-out of the project requires paperwork to document and record processes. It also requires paperwork on closing out of resources accounts, tracking of contractual agreement and completing legal terms. The close-out is a difficult activity as it can act as de-motivator during project sign-off. The dynamic factors to monitor are the static, task team, sponsorship, economics, and the environment.
The reasons of project failure are commercial objectives, lack of authority, market volatility, and priority. The project may have legal issues with the client. The two types of claims are ex-gratia claims and default claims. The disputes are resolved through litigation and arbitration methods. The decision to terminate the project is taken when cost exceeds business benefit or project is no longer strategic fit. It is important to include various components of the final report (Jeffrey 2009).
Post Project evaluation is an assessment undertaken on all projects. It is performed to find lessons learned from what went well and what could be done to improve future projects. It is conducted to assess the success of the project. Post Project evaluation (PPE) is a recent development and in past it was rarely practised in project. PPE is essential to determine accountability of resources and to learn lessons from past mistakes for projects to be undertaken in the future.
Traditional methods of PPR were based primarily on the rate of return and social cost and benefit. Earlier the primary focus was placed on CBA analysis. The project was termed successful if it yields the highest social return. The project was evaluated on the statistical techniques such IRR and sensitivity analysis. The final evaluation report was not of much use in conducting future projects in other areas.
The recent initiative toward PPE is the Logical Framework Approach. It has been adopted by number of project development agencies. LFA aims to condense all project information into data module that includes goal, purpose, impact on stakeholders, output, input and action. It is also easier for a comparable evaluation of the current project as well as future projects. However, European Union has taken steps to improve learning effects of LFA by adopting it in the Project cycle framework.
Most recently, the World Bank Operation Evaluation Department has proposed a new mandate for instilling a learning aspect to Bank projects. OED Post Project Evaluation emphasize on sustainability and long-term capacity development. The PPE has become a disciplined process for evaluating project success and creating a formalized standard that can be applied for future initiatives (Hira and Parfitt 2004).
In the past, the PPE was evaluated quantitatively whereas now it takes into account the satisfaction level and other success factors. The scope of PPE has now broadened to six key areas: overall project assessment, scope management, quality of deliverables, key accomplishment and lessons learned. The other areas considered are opportunities for improvement, future consideration and best practice (Young 2007).
In Japan, NEDO conducts PPE to derive lessons for R & D management. NEDO ensures that PPE approach produces checklist to all staff for learning from past mistakes. Earlier PPE was considered only after completion of the project whereas now it is an integral part of the project. Periodic review, resultant information and feedback are taken on a continuous basis during the course of the project (Ohara and Asada 2009).
As per AIA Best Practices, the topics to be included on Post Project Analysis are personnel and labour relations, methods of construction, safety issues, performance of subcontractor, cost control, schedule issues, quality of project, subsystems and components. The lessons learned from the above topics are incorporated to improve firm processes. The recent trend in PPE is the shift in the thinking from a mere evaluating phase to a knowledge-based system for future project purposes (Rao 2008). Taking a retrospective look in the 1960-1980, the PPE was measured in subjective and objective manner. The project success was measured in time and cost. Interaction with customer was less during PPE phase.
In period 1, an extensive empirical studies were lacking. The focus was on scheduling, achieving goals on time, budget and performance. Hence, in period 1 the literature emphasises on efficiency measures and technical system instead on client’s satisfaction. In Period 2 (1980-1990), the focus was on preparing CSF list. The literature in period 2 emphasize on the importance of stakeholder satisfaction as the indicator of project success. The focus was on satisfaction criteria than on completion criteria. The PPE success was depended on time, cost and quality of performance levels. In Period 3 (1990-2000) we saw significant contribution to the literature on CSF framework. PPE success depended on project functionality and project management meet the budget, schedule.
The other critical success factor was contractual commercial performance and project termination. Period 4 of 21st century shifts considerable responsibility of project success to project the owner. Recent researches shows in the successful project the owner should have a willingness to communicate continuously with the project manager. The PPE in 21st century emphasizes on collaborative working relation between project owner and manager. In 21st century the PPE is supported and invested as an asset with strategic relevance. The emerging perspective on PPE success broadens the scope for PM and seeks active involvement of Project sponsor. Presently Post Project Evaluation success is accomplished jointly in partnership with sponsor (Jugdev and Miller 2005).
Hira, A. and Parfitt, T. 2004. Development Projects for a New Millennium. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Jeffrey, P. 2009. Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage and Ms Project. India: Pearson Education India
Jugdev, K. and Miller, R. 2005. A Retrospective look at our evolving understanding of project success. Project Management Journal, 36 (4), 19-31.
Ohara, S. and Asada, T. 2009. Japanese Project Management: KPM – Innovation, Development and Improvement. Singapore: World Scientific.
Rao, S. 2008. Influence of Organizational Behaviour on Construction Project Closeout. US: ProQuest.
Young, T. 2007. The Handbook of Project Management: A Practical Guide to Effective Policies, Techniques and Processes UK: Kogan Page Publishers