Project Evaluation

What is technical definition for project evaluation?

The determination of merit (quality), worth (value) or significance (importance) for endeavors that are temporary, unique or done for a specific purpose to deliver a product (i.e., computer), service (i.e., technical support) or result (i.e., research findings). Thomas, W. (2011).

What is the difference between monitoring/controlling (a PMI process group element) and project evaluation?

The monitoring/controlling process group and evaluation are mutually supported. While monitoring/controlling is an iterative process to ensure the project is progressing as intended; project evaluation involves the determination of merit (quality), worth (value) or importance (significance) of the product of the project.

How soon should evaluation principles be taught?

Principles of evaluation are valuable and universal. They should be taught everywhere to better equip youth for their chosen careers. It is important to begin teaching in high school where field experience can be explored.

Evaluation is intradiscplinary, interdisplinary and transdisciplinary and has been overlooked when compared to other subjects, i.e., reading, writing, history, art and math. Evaluation could be positioned in the area of philosophy. Courses could include topics such as environmental evaluation to capture the interest of children.

Project Lessons Learned

What is the realized benefit for conducting lessons learned in projects?

Calculating return on investment (ROI), cost/benefit analysis, payback period, opportunity costs (and sunk costs for that matter) are determined on a case-by-case basis using industry guidelines and mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative).

How long does it take to become comfortable with conducting lessons learned?

This depends upon a number of things:
  • The Talents, Abilities, Skills and Knowledge (TASK) of Project Team Members (PTMs).
  • The complexity of the projects being evaluated
  • The commitment to evaluating projects
  • The organizational culture
  • The organizational structure
  • The maturity of the organization with respects to Project Evaluation (PE)
  • Support from sponsors and stakeholders
  • The number of Lessons Learned (LL) that are being conducted
  • The Project Management (PM) methodology being deployed
  • The summative and/or formative use of lessons
Where can I find recent research on the use of lessons learned?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) published a book entitled "Post Project Reviews to Gain Effective Lessons Learned" by author Terry Williams, PhD. This text provides responses to 500 organizations that were surveyed regarding their use of lessons learned. The list of questions is comprehensive.

How old is the practice of lessons learned?

Lessons learned is a form of evaluation, which has been in existence since the dawn of man. The term lessons learned was coined by Middleton in the mid 1960s. Practitioners in the disciplines of project management and evaluation (among many other areas, i.e., research and measurement) started to actively use that term in the context of projects since that time. Lessons learned has become a household term. A good reference to learn about evaluation terms and history is the Evaluation Thesaurus by Michael Scriven, PhD.

Is it better to use internal or external resources to conduct lessons learned?

It depends upon the circumstances, but there are some notable advantages of enabling a partnered arrangement for lessons learned consulting, consisting of both internal and external resources.

Here are some considerations. It:
  • encourages objectivity
  • provides for external expertise
  • highlights a mission of best practices
  • promotes benchmarking
  • neutralizes evaluator bias due to internal politics
  • increases visibility of evaluation
  • balances resource requirements
  • allows for critical external review
  • fills the gaps with experienced project evaluators
  • makes the lessons learned process more engaging
Are group forums an effective method to review lessons learned?

Large group settings can be a very effective way to review lessons learned provided participants are able to ask questions and comment. Setting which have many participants in the audience might benefit from improved media, handouts, etc. to improve communication.

What about the use of paper files for lessons learned?

Paper files for lessons learned are sometimes required for regulatory or compliance requirements. However, there are some obvious drawbacks to documents in file cabinets.
  • Accessibility
  • 2. Security
  • Organization
  • Amount of files that can be stored
  • Creation of a log for file maintenance
  • Version control
Does it make sense to conduct a lessons learned after a catastrophe?

While the goal of lessons learned is to prevent or prepare for catastrophe, there can be significant benefit in conducting lessons learned after a disaster. Being prepared involves the following types of plans:
  • Business continuity
  • Disaster recovery
  • Contingency
  • Succession
  • Tactical plans
  • Strategic plans
How necessary is training on lessons learned for project team members?

Training is a big part of the continuous improvement initiative. As an organization matures in project management and evaluation, they also want to advance their lessons learned process.

Equipping members of your staff with the necessary tools and techniques is critical.

What is a cost effective way to get moving with lessons learned on a tight budget?

Consider using spreadsheets if your organization does not utilize databases. If you can make a small investment, MS SharePoint can serve as a repository. It is fully featured and supports team collaboration that works well for lessons learned.

Why is the topic of lessons learned so thought provoking?

Learning is a natural part of living. There are many ways to proceed with project learning and evaluation is one of them. Lessons learned becomes one of many sound approaches. Criteria need to be established up to ensure a clear direction on what is to be accomplished. If this not done, there may be positive outcomes from the evaluation, but not necessarily the ones that were intended.

Project Management

What are the major recognized standards for project, program and portfolio management?


Project Management Body of Knowledge

What is the PMBOK?

The Project Management Institute®’s (PMI's) A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge® (PMBOK® Guide) is a widely accepted statement and de facto standard of the sum of knowledge within the project management profession. The PMBOK includes knowledge of tested principles by practitioners of project management. There are five process groups (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling and Closing) and nine Knowledge Areas (communications, cost, human resources, integration, procurement quality, risk, scope and time) all of which include inputs, outputs, tools and techniques.

Project Management Certification

Can the PMP® Certification help me become more successful?

The PMP® Certification represents a time investment in yourself and career. The PMP® credential is recognized worldwide and highly regarded by project management practitioners. PMP® Certification is a widely accepted standard that demonstrates a level of competence amongst project management professionals. Many employers seek candidates who have obtained PMP® Certification. According to research on Payscale.com, people with PMP® Certification command higher salaries, and the PMP® credential is one of the top IT certifications that people seek according to Geocities.com. Attaining your PMP® Credential represents an academic achievement and will increase confidence. All things considered, becoming a PMP can help one become more successful.

There are other forms of certification, such as the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) offered by PMI. These offer similar benefits as described above.

PRINCE2® is also a globally recognized methodology and de-facto standard for project management in the UK. PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) two is a structured methodology for project management, which focuses on the business case. It addresses the rationale and business justification for a project. PRINCE2® outlines project management in a controlled, well-managed, set of activities to achieve project results.

Beyond Project Management Training

What related training is good to consider after completing project management training through PMI or PRINCE2?

Six Sigma is a methodology for eliminating defects in any process. The net effect of a Six Sigma project is to reduce defects, improve cycle time, and increase throughput. Six Sigma supports process improvement. The level of expertise attained by a Six Sigma-trained professionals relate to four belt levels: Yellow, Green, Black and Master Black. Six Sigma utilizes DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) and DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify) as a framework to address efficiencies and effectiveness.

The International Institute of Business Analysis® (IIBA®'s) CBAP® stands offers a Certified Business Analysis Professional® certification, which focuses on identifying the business needs of an organization to determine the optimal solutions. The CBAP® credential demonstrates competence in the principles and practices of business analysis.

APICS provides the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) certification for those who need a comprehensive understanding in logistics, transportation, procurement, inventory, warehouse and related manufacturing. Demonstrated competency in value stream mapping, logic model and process mapping become essential to companies producing products and services to end customers. Through APICS certification, individuals are able to make the connection of transitioning projects, programs and portfolios to ongoing operations.

Human Subjects Research Project Management

Who is the HSIRB and is training necessary?

The Human Subjects Institutional Research Board or Health Sciences Institutional Research Board a local review board, in accord with federal regulations, to interprets and applies federal regulations, state law, and research sponsor requirements for the use of human subjects in research. It is preferred that project team members engaging in interviewing, focus groups, survey, etc. have formal training in this area. This will not only ensure compliance, but promote professionalism, respect for people and ethics. Project Measurement

How do measurement practices used in projects differ from common measurement techniques?

Standards are situation specific depending upon the requirements for the project. For example, top-down vs. bottom up estimating may be used solely or in conjunction with each other.

Project Plan

What is the difference between a project plan and an evaluation plan (AKA evaluation project plan)?

A project plan is the over-arching document that is created before the project starts. It outlines the project phases from start to completion. It is used to estimate the project effort and duration. It maps out the detailed work and ensures that resources (people, systems, facilities, equipment, materials and supplies) are assigned as outlined. Moreover, it discusses issues such as communications, costs, risk, scope and time.

An evaluation project plan specifically addresses how a project will be evaluated. It may be a subset of a project plan, or be drafted as a project plan. The Key Evaluation Checklist (KEC) developed by Michael Scriven represents an evaluation plan outline. One very important component of the evaluation project plan is lessons learned. Lessons learned serve as an input and output of an evaluation plan.

Project Management Office

What are the Benefits of Incorporating Project Evaluation in a PMO?

A Project Management Office (PMO) is established to ensure successful management of projects, programs and portfolios. Responsibilities of a PMO include: project monitoring, reporting, and training. Other benefits of establishing a PMO include the creation and maintenance of templates to support project administration.

Project Research

How is conducting project research different than other forms of research?

Project research frequently involves benchmarking and best practices in order to compare and contrast. Traditional research may be used to prove or disprove a hypothesis.

Visualization and Presentation

What is the connection between visualization and presentation?

Visualization is the conceptual idea and presentation is transfer into a form that can be seen by the audience.

The presentation will vary depending upon appropriateness and impact. Media may take the form of slides and in other cases multimedia. Dashboards can be very effective in showing real-time status.