Tuesday, August 21, 2012

project basics- introduction

Today i delivered a lecture on basics of project cycle and management to assistants of Bank of Bhutan.  The powerpoint is here:

It is in fact, my first lecture in BIRD, Lucknow as faculty member though nth one in life. The lecture went on well though  entire ppt could not be run through as the effort was more to get the concepts imbibed than to give more inputs. Hence, we spent more time on concepts. The participation was good and fairly interactive. Participants were responding to discussions well. It is a pleasure to the speaker if he were not forced to speak to a wall.
I was trying to give example of tractor financing, house construction and others to drive home the point.  When I was running through monitoring, the a.c. guy came to check if a.c. is fine. Just before we complained that the room is not cool enough.  I could take that example for telling what the monitoring is about and what is the difference between offsite and on-site monitoring.  The guy telephones and checks if a.c. is fine- it is offsite and if he personally comes and checks if things are fine it is onsite!
I introduced the concepts of project, capital, investment, present vs. future consumption, economic life, project spiral (not exactly cycle), attribution problem in impact analysis, externalities, etc.
A few interesting questions were posed during the lecture.  One participant asked what is the link between research and project analysis. though the question appears to be linking two diverse topics, it seems there is a close link.  In fact, project analysis is research effort in itself and findings of research in terms of impact evaluation and research in related fields fed into the project formulation and implementation. In fact, project execution itself is a kind of action research. Another participant asked what happens if we we find in our evaluation that the project outcomes are not in tune with our expectations.  The answer is that it is a finding in itself which helps us better our future project formulation capabilities.  The same boy asked if we need evaluation at all.  Thinking like an individual who has to cry when his project fails, yes, one need not have evaluation. At least, it may seem like that. Evaluation cannot help the present project as would the effective monitoring and mid-course corrections that it may suggest. But evaluations help us bring smiles to many others if we can understand how someone else had to cry in a similar situation due to poor project fundamentals. By all means, we need credible evaluations.
By for now.