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 How to Identify and Formulate Project | PM Tools - PM Tools

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How to Identify and Formulate Project

 

HOW TO IDENTIFY AND FORMULATE PROJECTS USING THE (NPT) MODEL

 

All projects have one common characteristic- the projection of ideas and activities into new endeavors. The ever present element of risk and uncertainty means that the events and tasks leading to completion can never be foretold with absolute accuracy.

Projects can originate from several places or perceived needs.

 

Although projects can be identified by different methods, this is a model that I have developed through 6-7 years of teaching and implementing projects. It is surprising to know that most authors of project management have not delved into this area even though they have exhausted most of the topics of managing projects. In fact most books on project management have nothing on Project identification and formulation.

 

The NPT model enables project practitioners to identify projects from three sources.

(a) Needs(N)

(b) Problems(P)

(1) Trend or pattern.(T)

 

It is important for practitioners as well as non practitioners of project management to know that projects revolve around one basic concept “need”.

Human beings are a bundle of needs.

The need for a new project will usually be pretty well defined before investor institutions will agree to provide the capital needed to build.

 

NEEDS APPROACH.

The need for investment in a project, however, generally arises from one of three sources:

 

 

(A) MARKET DEMAND

•         This includes the development of new products,

•         Seizing opportunities to increase market share of current products

•         Trying to retain current business

 

(B) GOVERNMENT OR COMPANY MANDATE

•         This includes responding to health,

•         Safety

•         Environmental concerns

 

(C) COST REDUCTION STRATEGIES

•         This includes project to improve efficiency, such as:

•         Decreasing maintenance or operating costs,

•         Increasing production while holding costs stable

 

PROJECT IDENTIFICATION AND ORIGINATION

•         Determining the need for a project is relatively easy if the purpose of the project is to comply with a government or company mandate or to meet a known and continuing market demand.

•         For e.g. a chemical manufacturer may define need to upgrade a process line to comply with the new air quality regulations or to upgrade its product quality to meet known customer requirements.

 

If the need is perceived (opposed to known), defining the need  is more difficult because strategic planners must predict customer demands, market trends, and future economic conditions.

•         For e.g, corporate planners may anticipate a gradual increase in the use of composite materials in auto making over the next 20years

 

•         The problem arises when the person, the team, or whoever is the driving force becomes so convinced that this great idea is the answer to the perceived problem that they refuse to impartially analyze the proposed solution or consider alternative solutions.

 Projects can be developed not only by trying to meet the current needs of customers or communities or stakeholders, but by trying to address anticipated need.e.g The US might need 2 million more foreign workers by 2010.  The US visa lottery is one of a series of projects trying to solve that future need.

 

PROBLEM SOLVING APPROACH:

 

•         All projects are geared towards solving a particular problem or taking advantage of opportunities.

•         Therefore in identifying projects one can start by reviewing problems.

•         Problems definitely would revolve around the following areas

•          

•         Social issues

•         Economic

•         Political

•         Legal

•         Technological

•         etc

Problems are normally deviations from the normal.e.g behaviour,increase in drug abuse, project under the category fall under social problems. Project could be developed towards tackling these problems, e.g sensitization, education.etc.

 

Economic problems could include unemployment, poverty, relevant projects in these areas could be developed.

 

•         For e.g demographic factors fall under social, and by looking at issues,like population, age, sex, several problems can be identified and projects can be developed

•         Aspect also like education can be reviewed critically and projects will definitely emerge from this factor. E.g .number of teachers, pupil to teacher ratio, number of schools etc

 

Also where there is a problem there is bound to be an opportunity. Therefore  look for the opportunity. For example if there is a problem with traffic congestion in Freetown, currently there is a potential for engineering projects for new roads, bridges,etc.

 

TREND APPROACH.

 

Projects can also be identified by monitoring trends e.g

•         Population

•         Economic

•         Educational

•         Health

•         Technology

•         Etc

For e.g increase in birth rate can indicate the likely hood of more schools in the primary and secondary sector , need for more teachers.etc.

By monitoring trends we are able to plan for the future.

 

PROJECT FORMULATION:

•         After the project has been identified, it has to be formulated.

•         In fact certain projects for effectiveness and success have to be segmented into smaller projects.

•         Formulation takes into consideration, defining the project with respect to scope, and objectives of the organization

 

•         In formulating projects, we need to define the project in terms of

•          The target market, or the beneficiaries

•         The benefits to be obtained

•         The scope in terms of size

•         The duration of the project

•         The cost of the project

 

Developed by A.K.Noah(2004)

For further information contact.

Zenith Marketing and Research Agency

C/O IPAM University of Sierra Leone

e-mail. Zenith@yahoo.com

e-mail. karimnoah@yahoo.com

 

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