Managing Project Selection

Updated: October 28, 2013

The project selection process should be designed to ensure that project proposals are evaluated fairly and objectively, with a focus on business value and project viability. Every project begins with a proposal, but not every proposal can or should become a project. In a world of limited resources, choices have to be made. Not every project has viability. And, amongst those that do, limited resources (people, time, money and equipment), must be applied judiciously.

Consider the risks if resources are misapplied:

1. Valuable resources can be "used up" before projects are completed and finalized.
2. Resources might be used less effectively through assignment to projects of lesser value and priority.
3. Credibility and influence can be lost as perceived project failures pile up.

To maximize available resources, and avoid potential failures, project proposals must be evaluated and selected on the basis of overall viability.  In a business sense, project viability is the degree to which a given project will provide the expected return on investment.  Viability can be measured by three key variables:

1. Value:  The project must provide measurable benefit to the organization, in terms of revenue, cost reduction, productivity, or some other desired result.

2. Alignment:  The project must be consistent with, and supportive of, overall business goals and objectives (including technology goals).

3. Probability of Success:  The project must present a realistic opportunity for success, relating to outcome and process, and as can be measured by business, project management, and technology standards.

As the project selection process is developed, the following questions must be considered:

1. How will project proposals be submitted into the "pool" of potential projects?
2. How often will the project "pool" process be undertaken (yearly, quarterly, monthly)?
3. Who is responsible for managing the project "pool" selection process?
4. How will project proposals be reviewed and evaluated?
5. How will selection decisions be made?
6. How will selection decisions be approved?
7. How will selection decisions be communicated?
8. How will disputes be resolved?

Who is responsible for the review of "as-needed" project proposals?  (e.g. project selection committee, company management, line of business management, individual business units.)

1. How will as-needed project proposals be submitted?
2. How will as-needed project proposals be reviewed and evaluated?
3. How will selection decisions be made?
4. How will selection decisions be approved?
5. How will selection decisions be communicated?
6. How will disputes be resolved?

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