TOPIC 4: PROJECT IDENTIFICATION
1. Meaning of Project Identification
2. Sources of Project Ideas
3. Methods used in Project Identification
4. Steps in Project Identification
5. Establishing Terms of Reference
6. Importance of Feasibility Studies
7. Challenges in Project Identification
MEANING OF PROJECT IDENTIFICATION
Project Identification is a repeatable process for documenting, validating, ranking and approving candidate projects within an organization.
Purpose of Project Identification
Due to the changing financial conditions within the total organization, it is necessary to establish a stable process for approving projects for initiation. This process will…
Validate the business reason for each candidate project.
Provide the base information for more informed financial commitments to projects.
Establish a more objective ranking of candidate projects.
Allow a more effective matching of skilled resources to the right project.
Avoid over-allocating limited skilled resources.
Anticipate future human resource quantities and skills.
Provide a valid basis for staff training.
Make Project Initiation faster and more efficient.
Because priorities, finances and resources may change at any time, it is critical that this process be well-defined and easy to follow. It is also important that its value is understood and supported by corporate leaders and the business organization.
Problem identification is a very crucial process in the early stages of project development and this is what forms the process of project justification rationale, that is; core of the project existence and definition.
Problem identification refers to the process of assessing the problems encountered by a people locally, nationally, regionally and globally.
Projects grow out of problems and therefore the identification of problems is about function finding the issues that affect people/uniting them to maximally. All these issues, when summed up become the problem statement of the project.
The problem statement specifies the problem at hand that needs to be solved, the ideas to solve the problem and all aspects to beconsidered in solving the problem.
Therefore, the problem to be the solved becomes the objective of the project.
SOURCES OF PROJECT IDEAS
Reviewing of suggestions and recommendations by development agencies, investors and their partners.
Assessing the status of local resource utilization with the objective of establishing the gap to be filled.
Analyzing the performance of existing industries in terms of capacity and profitability.
Study of government plans, outlaws and guidelines. This have indicators of demand and short forms where one can take advantage.
Study of emerging trends e.g. increasing population, decrease in land or sites, decrease in soil fertility.
Analyzing of social and economic trend e.g. high cost of living has led to all parents engaging in full time and long hours of working.
Exploring the availability of restored investments i.e. revival of stored supermarkets such as Uchumi , stored processing i.e. Mumias
Identification of unfulfilled psychological needs.
Ideas from attending trade fairs.
Examining new technology or research finding for new exploitation e.g M-pesa.
Development plan priorities in national and regional development plans.
Changing trends in the current status e.g. unemployed youth.
Local market demand in oversees market.
METHODS USED IN PROJECT IDENTIFICATION
Main approaches to project identification are:
(i)The top down approach
(ii)The bottom up approach
(iii)The need problem and trend pattern approach (NPT)
Top Down Approach
The top down approach focuses on the negative characteristics of a community and demoralizes the product beneficiaries.
It is commonly adopted by donors and senior managers because they think thetarget beneficiaries do not understand their problems /the donor and senior managershave their interests to serve.
Projects are identified based on demand beyond the community. Such sources may be directives including, but not limited to:
(i)International conventions such as Kyoto Protocol/Climate Change
(ii)International institutions/NGOs that have determined particular priorities
(iii)Global regional and national policy makers e.g. sustainable development goals
Advantages of the top down approach
(i)It is a source of employment, through partnerships with local suppliers
(ii)It is appropriate for rapid response to disasters e.g. war, floods, outbreaks
(iii)It is effective in providing common service to education, health, water and transport.
(iv)It is appropriate in contributing to wider nationals/international objectives and
goals and therefore has a widespread benefit.
(v)It is appropriate for sharing trans boundary resources.
Disadvantages of the top down approach
(i)It does not help in modifying strongly established ideas and beliefs of the target beneficiaries.
(ii)It assumes external individuals know better than beneficiaries which is not true.
Communities know their problem even though they do not have a solution.
(iii)Communities have little to say in planning process rendering the process devoid of human resource development.
(iv)It forms a strong basis for community dependency syndrome on outside assistance not exploiting their own potential.
(v)It leads to low community morale and causes
(vi)It can lead to migration to where the jobs are leading to a high population, therefore causing high unemployment, social vice, crime,early pregnancy, violence etc.
Tools and techniques in top down approach
(i)The household (social economic survey)
Here in Kenya, the household survey is conducted majorly by Kenya NationalBureau of Statistics (KNBS). It is also conducted by the Kenya Institute for Public
Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA).
This involves studies of the social economic statistics of an economic area e.g. climate, economic activities ,education system ,culture ,physical infrastructure .It involves use of questionnaires ,interviews ,documentation and direct observation.
Rapid rural appraisal is carried out in rural areas whereas rapid urban appraisal is carried out in rapid urban areas.
This involves collection and assessment of data quickly, so as to acquire information in the shortest time possible and at a low cost.
It is called rapid because the investigation and assessment of projects are done at the same time.
The data techniques are analysis of secondary data, interviews and direct
(iii)Needs Assessment Survey
This is also called SITAN, which is Situational Analysis. It involves fact finding about problems/needs in a given area/community finding out what is given out in a given area. This is done so as to identify the solution.
Bottom Up Approval
In this approach, communities/beneficiaries are encouraged to identify and plan theproject themselves with/without outsiders. This focuses on the strengths and resourceswithin the community.
It gives the community an opportunity to strategically design, progressive and transformative development programs that respond to the needs, situation and perception of the people.
Every individual/ community, regardless of their location have opportunities, strengths, weaknesses and threats.
Unfortunately, leaders and individuals in developing countries have led their people and themselves towards the scarcity mentality. This has made many people not to see the great opportunities and strengths granted to them by God the creator. Every community has capital that can contribute to the community’s progressive and transformative development. Example:
(i)Natural capital (natural ecosystem/resources) trees, water etc.
(ii)Physical capital such as property, equipment and plans.
(iii)Economic capital i.e. market value of assets and liabilities
(iv)Human capital i.e. competence, knowledge, skills, physical health, talent
(v)Social capital (relationships, cooperation, network of influence and support)
(vi)Cultural capital (education, religion, heritage)
Advantages of bottom up approach
(i)It is appropriate for accomplishing interventions with limited resources.
(ii)It allows for better management of resources since people will tend to safeguard
what belongs to them/what they have provided.
(iii)It is an appropriate approach for building the capacity of the people to identify their
problems and needs and seek possible solutions.
(iv)It allows peoples participation in solution formulation therefore, providing opportunities to educating people.
(v)It helps people to work as a team making the project progressive and sustainable. Short comings/Disadvantages of bottom up approach
(i)It is not effective for projects that require urgency to implement.
(ii)It is based on the principle of democracy therefore time consuming.
(iii)It provides basis for holding people accountable therefore causes people to dislike
the approach because they don’t want to take responsibility for action.
(iv)The agency using the approach is never in control and cannot guarantee the results it wants since it is not in full control.
(v)The priorities of the community may not fit with that of the national and international priorities that seek to have a broader effect.
Tools used for bottom up approach
It’s the process of stimulating people to become more aware of conscience they suffer from. This method gives people confidence in their ability to deal with problems and make them better prepared to overcome its problems and be aware to take full
responsibility. The animation is carried out by animators. They can be internal/external.
This is an attempt to assist people to get over problems by equipping them with skills, providing information e.g. market information, linking them up with relevant agencies and organizations to improve access to needed resources.
(iii)Participatory appraisal (PRA / PUA)
Participatory appraisal is an approach of many methods carried out with local communities identifying and selecting project participatory.
STEPS IN PROJECT IDENTIFICATION
CERTIFY BUSINESS CASE
Document Business Case: Evaluate all Candidate Project Information that has been provided by the requesting organization or that has been gathered by a technical analyst. If additional information is needed, issue an Information Request to the requester. Format this information into a Business Case. Assign the Candidate Project a new
Review Business Case: The Business Case will be examined by an screening body with the corporate authority to accept or reject a Candidate Project. When a Business Case is accepted, the Candidate Project is captured in a repository for ranking and selection. If additional information is required on a Business Case, note it as “pending” and issue an Information Request to the requester. If a Business Case is rejected, send the information to the requester with an explanation for the rejection. Remain this
information in a repository. Update Business Case: When additional information is received on a Candidate
Project, obtain the pending Business Case from the repository and revise the data. This Business Case should now be reconsidered by process Rank Candidate Projects: When requested, all Candidate Projects that are in the repository should be objectively ranked in order of significance. The ranking criteria should include…
Target due dates
Impact on the total business
Impact on the technology architecture
Impact on other applications
Project size, cost and duration
It will be helpful to rank projects against each of these criteria separately and then compile a single ranking that weights each of these criteria against each other. This ranking process is typically used to feed quarterly budget decisions but may be requested at any time. Evaluate Resources: An updated Skills Inventory should be maintained for all corporate (Business Unit and Information Technology Department) resources that are available for project assignment. Additionally, an inventory of available contract resources should also be captured. The purpose of this Skills Inventory is to understand the true capabilities and capacities of these resources.
Determine Resource Needs: By evaluating the Skills Inventory and the Candidate Project repository, this process will identify anticipated requirements for quantities and capabilities of future resources. This information will provide…
The identification of critical training needs
A basis for employment opportunities
Criteria for contract personal
This process should be reviewed on a regular basis by Resource Managers within the organization and can be used for staff career counselling.
ESTABLISHING TERMS OF REFERENCE
Terms of Reference is a document that explains the objectives, scope of work, activities, tasks to be performed, respective responsibilities of the Employer and the Consultant, and expected results and deliverables of the Assignment/job.
The constituents of TOR
I. Background -describes the project in the context. States the general note stakeholders in doing project. Background provides an overview of history behind the project
II. Objectives -these are the desired accomplishments that can be reasonably desired upon the project completion with consumption of available resources and within an expected timeframe
III. Scope\ issues – project involves a number of issues and problematic areas that need to be addressed in order for the project to be implemented smoothly General issue evaluation criteria for projects
a. Efficiency – how well the given activity transforms available resources t desired outputs.
b. Reference – analyze if a given activity is being performed to desired benefits.
c. Impact – extent to which the projects benefits received by the target audience.
d. Sustainability – criterion identifies whether the project positive outcomes will continue after funding ends.
e. Methodology – how to carry out the project I a cost effective way
f. Expertise – the expertise needed for doing a project defines a set of professional requirements for the individual and terms involved in project implementation.
g. Reporting – reporting provides valid information about a project performance over a certain period.
h. Work plan – is a kind of strategy that aims to help solve problems through a project and boost employee drive and focus.
IMPORTANCE OF FEASIBILITY STUDIES
A feasibility study is an analysis that takes all of a project’s relevant factors into account—including economic, technical, legal, and scheduling considerations—to ascertain the likelihood of completing the project successfully
Areas of Feasibility Study A feasibility analysis evaluates the project’s potential for success; therefore, perceived objectivity is an essential factor in the credibility of the study for potential investors and lending institutions. There are five areas of feasibility study—separate areas that a feasibility study examines, described below.
1. Technical Feasibility
This assessment focuses on the technical resources available to the organization. It helps organizations determine whether the technical resources meet capacity and whether the technical team is capable of converting the ideas into working systems. Technical feasibility also involves the evaluation of the hardware, software, and other technical requirements of the proposed system. As an exaggerated example, an organization wouldn’t want to try to put Star Trek’s transporters in their building—currently, this project is not technically feasible.
2. Economic Feasibility
This assessment typically involves a cost/ benefits analysis of the project, helping organizations determine the viability, cost, and benefits associated with a project before financial resources are allocated. It also serves as an independent project assessment and enhances project credibility—helping decision-makers determine the positive economic benefits to the organization that the proposed project will provide.
3. Legal Feasibility
This assessment investigates whether any aspect of the proposed project conflicts with legal requirements like zoning laws, data protection acts or social media laws. Let’s say an organization wants to construct a new office building in a specific location. A feasibility study might reveal the organization’s ideal location isn’t zoned for that type of business. That organization has just saved considerable time and effort by learning that their project was not feasible right from the beginning.
4. Operational Feasibility
This assessment involves undertaking a study to analyze and determine whether—and how well—the organization’s needs can be met by completing the project. Operational feasibility studies also examine how a project plan satisfies the requirements identified in the requirements analysis phase of system development.
5. Scheduling Feasibility
This assessment is the most important for project success; after all, a project will fail if not completed on time. In scheduling feasibility, an organization estimates how much time the project will take to complete. When these areas have all been examined, the feasibility analysis helps identify any constraints the proposed project may face, including:
Internal Project Constraints: Technical, Technology, Budget, Resource, etc.
Internal Corporate Constraints: Financial, Marketing, Export, etc.
External Constraints: Logistics, Environment, Laws, and Regulations, etc.
The importance of a feasibility study This based on organizational desire to “get it right” before committing resources, time, or budget. A feasibility study might uncover new ideas that could completely change a project’s scope. It’s best to make these determinations in advance, rather than to jump in and to learn that the project won’t work. Conducting a feasibility study is always beneficial to the project as it gives you and other stakeholders a clear picture of the proposed project.
Key benefits of conducting a Feasibility Study:
Improves project teams’ focus
Identifies new opportunities
Provides valuable information for a “go/no-go” decision
Narrows the business alternatives
Identifies a valid reason to undertake the project
Enhances the success rate by evaluating multiple parameters
Aids decision-making on the project
Identifies reasons not to proceed
CHALLENGES IN PROJECT IDENTIFICATION
Inadequate Technology Infrastructure. Technology is essential in project identification as it could be useful in mining of data.
Inadequate data. Data involves decision surveys carried out on social economic indicators depict the strategic issues of society and the world at large. The information processed from the data is necessary for identifying gaps. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t manage data and it’s barely available. Corruption. Many people given an opportunity would serve their own interests than the interests of others or community at large therefore, this makes project identification subjective and ends up not serving the needs of the people.
Lack of innovation. Innovation is the capacity to think outside the box and provide solutions to problems. Apparently, many people are problem identifiers but not solution providers. Education systems have failed in their role of creating an innovative learning environment but only otherwise feeds theory into the mind.
Lack of technical capacity. Capacity is required in screening ideas to come up with viable one. Such capacity is for example research and development.
Competition. The ever changing environment has necessitated competition in the market place as everybody is trying to pace up technology.