An exploratory study of project selection in donor funded development programme : An analysis of case studies of project selection in International Development Programmes (IDPs) in Bangladesh

University essay from Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet; Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet


International Development Programmes (IDPs) are United Nations‘ (UN) and developedcountries‘ initiatives to develop world‘s least developed countries. IDPs significantly vary fromother mainstream project management topics, as most often they do not have eye for commercialsuccess or are not of simple charity nature of humanitarian perspective aid. Projects under IDPstry to deliver United Nations‘ and rich countries commitment to provide sustainable developmentto developing world in terms of reducing poverty and hunger, improving health and educationsystem, building capacity to face disasters, eliminating gender discrimination, among others.This significant difference and lack of research in this field has left a gap in established projectmanagement methodologies that could be generalised as specifically suitable for IDPs.The knowledge of project selection methodologies has reached to its extreme variety, as itspreads from the simplest model of a checklist to the highest degree mathematical model.Leading researchers in the field have come to conclusion that project selection methods have tomatch the needs of a specific programme or portfolio to serve its purpose. The uniqueness ofIDPs intensified the necessity of choosing projects by understanding the financial and strategicbenefit they can deliver matching their resource requirement. In absence of straight direction inthe research and real life case observations, the practice in project selection in IDPs has not stillbeen an established procedure.To explore this need the authors of this report examined the theoretical framework of projectselection and their compliance with IDPs unique characteristics. Project selection methodsshowed that due to organisations‘ varied need of delivering financial or strategic objectives, theselection models significantly vary. The use of different financial or strategic criteria withdifferent emphasis on them is highlighted in project selection articles. Further analysis wasfocused on project selection stages and possible challenges evolving in the selection process.The researchers tried to explore project selection methods used in IDPs in Bangladesh byanalyzing four different cases. The examination of the project selection process showed that itmainly follows the multi-stage assessment procedure, with project evaluation conducted by theassessment panel, comprised from the functional experts and in some cases stakeholders‘representatives. Further, from the findings it was evident that the primary theoretical suggestionsfor IDPs project selection methods being strategy driven rather than being commercial in natureis true. In all four cases, the researchers have seen the selectors using scoring and ranking modelthat are specifically designed with higher emphasis on the strategic factors, and that try to deliverdevelopment objective rather than contributing to commercial success. In addition, thechallenges in IDP project selection practice are also discussed. Challenges like deliveringdevelopment needs while trying to make the project sustainable in the long run, managing thepowerful influence of different stakeholders in selecting projects, avoiding country politics,among others are making the project selection more difficult. The main contribution of thisresearch has been establishing a primary selection framework from case evidence withsuggestions on appropriate model, set of criteria which can be used and a set of challenges to beaware of. The study is presented as a basis for further research in this field.

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