Project evaluation_ own experience and conclusions

Project evaluation: learning from experience

The evaluation of an ongoing or finished project is a crucial aspect of project management which aims to assess the effectiveness of the current practices and determine what can be improved in the future. Project evaluation involves collecting feedback, analyzing data, and comparing the goals versus results. In this regard, we will discuss the main principles of project evaluation and why it is important for future success.

What is project evaluation?

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The idea of project evaluation implies assessing the project and its results to gather information which could improve the operations in the future or avoid mistakes that were made. Basically, this process aims to measure the effectiveness and learn from the experience. In terms of a more practical definition, project evaluation is the data analysis that can be used to make more targeted and optimised decisions in future projects. There are three types of project evaluation:

  • Pre-project evaluation. It means making an evaluation of how the project will be executed to present the plan to the stakeholders.
  • Ongoing project evaluation. It implies constant monitoring of the processes and evaluation of how well the project progresses within the established plan. 
  • Post-project evaluation (it’s also called retrospective). This type of project evaluation deals with analyzing the results and evaluating what was effective and what wasn’t. 

Considering the complexity of every project and internal process, the best way to optimize the practices and effectively utilize the resources is to evaluate every aspect closely. Additionally, project evaluation is a way to provide the stakeholders with information about the project’s effectiveness and how well the resources were utilized. 

How to do project evaluation?

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In the project evaluation process, multiple elements should be considered during the assessment and when collecting information and reporting the data to stakeholders. Nevertheless, the common steps in conducting project evaluation are:

  • Evaluation plan. Determine what you want to get from the evaluation, and it will help to be more consistent in the process. For instance, one may emphasize the evaluation of the data and hard evidence to analyze a project’s financial and performance effectiveness. In contrast, another evaluation priority could be the collection of feedback and information from the involved stakeholders to analyze the performance of a team that has worked on a project.  
  • Identify initial objectives. The initial goals indicate the expectations from the project and contain the data about the available resources and what were the expectations. Subsequently, the comparison of the initial aims and results helps to determine the effective process and what should be reconsidered in the future. 
  • Collecting feedback, information, and data. This part of project evaluation is the main one because it involves the collection of information that will be further analyzed and used in the optimization of future projects. Also, it is used to create a report for stakeholders for further evaluation and analysis.
  • Involve external evaluators. With this project evaluation method, it can be a great chance to get an impartial insight into the performance of a team and receive the analytics and feedback that could help to grow and improve the effectiveness of future projects. However, external evaluators might not be aware of all peculiarities of each project and team.
  • Analyze the results (retrospective). The main goal of the part of the project is in the name and involves the analysis of data and information to improve the processes with ongoing projects or as a post-project evaluation process. For a more precise analysis, project managers use software that keeps track of all the tasks, deadlines, budgeting, and other data. 

To note, when the project is using agile framework with sprint planning, evaluation is also applied every sprint to improve every next iteration and multiple metrics are used to perform this kind of evaluation.

The importance of project evaluation

Consequently, one may agree that the project evaluation process is crucial for the success of ongoing and future projects. Learning from the experience and data helps to shape more effective practices which can be employed. Also, project evaluation is a way to create a report for the stakeholders, which would assess whether the project and the team were productive and what should be considered when doing similar projects. Thus, project evaluation and analysis of the data is an objective form reflecting on the results and taking this information as the experience which can be quantified and qualified. 

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