RE: What can we do to improve the quality of development projects? | Eval Forward

Hello everyone. I am so happy to be back on the forum, after some while offline.

My take on the topic, what can we do to improve the quality of development projects is as follows:

1. Recruit a project management team which possesses the requisite capacity (both as individuals and as a team) to deliver development projects: Project Management Professionals are few and far between in many least developing countries, and even whereas possessing this qualification does not necessarily guaranty quality delivery, coupled with experience, motivation and commitment, it does serve as a recipe for success. The 9 Project Knowledge Areas are critical for project management success and should not be underestimated.

2. Recruit a Project Coordinator/Director/Manager who has the technical skills and qualities of a level-5 Leader: The role of a Project Team Director/Coordinator/Manager is to lead the team towards achieving the project results. Equipped with results-based management skills, a project team leader is crucial for quality development project performance.

3. Conduct procurement in a professional manner - follow due process and pursue principles of fairness, efficiency, and quality: Corruption, as alluded to by earlier contributors, is inimical to progress. Corruption at the project level mostly happens within the framework of procurement. Where this is curbed, one can be optimistic that project delivery will be effective - contract management will be robust and deliverables will be of high quality. The reverse is catastrophic and that, unfortunately, is what has contributed to the failure of most development projects.

4. Effective stakeholder analysis and management throughout the project life cycle: This will ensure smooth implementation, promote ownership and guarantee sustainability. But, very importantly, the continued utilization of the outcomes by beneficiaries is likely to be achieved. Otherwise, we have seen projects which end at the completion of construction works; for instance, markets built but not utilized beyond the project life. Often these projects are brought to communities by some influential retired civil servant or politician, usually without due regard for the interests and influences of other actors within society and so the project ends up as a white elephant.

5. Quality Monitoring and Evaluation System: It is one thing to have in place a good M&E Framework with all the ingredients like quality data collection, good participation of beneficiaries, management willingness to make use of the M&E reports to support decision making, etc; however, it is quite another very important thing to have in place the personnel to drive the system and bring in the necessary energy and innovation to make it functional and relevant. Quality M&E system requires continuous capacity building for all stakeholders at different levels, including end-users of the M&E reports.   

6. Project Sustainability Plan and Exit Strategy: One of the reasons for the lack of sustainability of many projects in my country (The Gambia), is the lack of a sustainability plan and exit strategy. Projects phase out without proper hand over of interventions to existing institutions or structures for continuity. These institutions or structures need to be well prepared (capacity building) to take over the management and operationalization of project outcomes which must be carefully identified and appreciated with the involvement and input of the beneficiaries who are the end-users of the facilities. Implementing a sustainability plan/Exit strategy is a painstaking effort but if carefully done can guarantee development project success.

With these in mind I think the quality of development project can be improved.

Thank you.