Integrated Project Evaluation and Selection Using Multiple-Attribute Decision Making Technique

Introduction

Investments are always very costly ventures that every individual would take a lot of precaution to ensure that it is done in the right way. For any project to be made a success, several issues must be put into consideration in order to ensure that it works as predetermined. For a long period, many business corporations had not given project evaluation the right attention.

This was probably due to less technological advancement and less competition by then. However, things are very different today. The world is changing due to changes being brought about by emerging technologies. According to Davidson (2003), many businesses were found unawares by these changes in technology. This scholar says that these changes have redefined the business world.

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Some of the giant firms were brought to their knees because they were not able to implement the right projects when the environmental conditions demanded for the same. Hamilton (2004) says that the world market has gotten increasingly competitive. On one end, suppliers are getting more autonomous hence more dictatorial when dealing with business units. They therefore have to be paid more for their products.

On the other hand, customers have gotten increasingly demanding. The world is now opened up to free communication. Customers have access to the information as it freely flows to the advancement in communication techniques with the help of the phones, mass media, and social media. As such, they know what they want and know that they can always ask for more satisfaction and get it at a lower price.

Business firms are also lacking in creativity. As such, they are coming up with projects that are similar to those of competing firms. This duplication of projects has created market that has products that are similar, creating a saturation hence reducing the bargaining power of such business units.

Above are some of the challenges that a business unit has to contend with in the current market. It may not be easy to make it through. It is common to see firms fall because of lack of the ability to get hold of the market. In Harvey (2005) words, a firm in the current world market has to be very specific with its strategies, keen to monitor the market changes and smart to implement the best practice in the market, failure of which, there would be no alternative but to bow out of this highly competitive race.

Project Evaluation

Project evaluation is therefore one of the most important tasks that a firm must ensure that it does well and in time in order to avoid a possible fallout. Projects are always a creation of a creative mind. One would sit and come up with a brilliant idea of how to give a specific market a new approach. It is always through such ideas that firms always find it easy to manage a competitive market. Through these projects, a firm is able to design new ways in the market that would help it stay a step ahead of the competition in the market.

As stated above, given that projects are creations of the mind, there are possibilities that some projects may fail to be up to the standards of the market. This can be due to a number of reasons. The first reason can be that the project can be too ambitious to be realized.

Some projects look so good and attractive in paper. However, taken to the field they would barely pass the test of reality. Such projects would require toning down to realistic sizes that a firm could successfully employ to give desirable results. On the other hand, a project can be too weak to be effective in the given market.

Some people would base their ideas of the past events that may not be holding truth in the current market to develop a given project. Such project would only consume time and other resources of a firm but when it comes to the implementation, it would take the firm several miles back, a step that can be suicidal given the current competitive business world.

In some instances, a project may be perfect, with the ability to give desirable results to the firm but its cost may be prohibitive. These projects may need evaluation and revaluation to ensure that they can be implemented within the financial constrains of the firm.

Given the above facts, it goes without saying that project evaluation and selection is very important to a firm because it would help the firm manage the competitive market. Some factors have to be considered when evaluating a project. Any given project would be multifaceted. There are various factors to be considered in a given project before it can be selected in a number of projects as the best.

This ranges from financial, to environmental (both internal and external environments) and the timelines. This has resulted in what is popularly referred to as integrated project evaluation and selection. In it integrated because it involves looking at various facets of a project simultaneously in order to ascertain its viability.

Before a firm can settle on the project, all these factors have to be considered. To help in this process, social scientists have developed scientific methods that involves multiple decision making techniques that makes it easier and more effective for firms to determine how appropriate a project is.

This study seeks to investigate how a firm can successfully determine affectivity of a project through integrated project evaluation and selection using multiple-attribute decision-making technique.

Objectives

The objective of this study is to determine how a firm can effectively scan and evaluate projects through integrated project evaluation and selection using multiple-attribute decision-making technique. The Staff members at Wynn Inc were called upon to help in this process.

The decision to use the employees other than the management staff was reached upon the realization that they always develop most of the decisions. Unlike the management staff that always spends most of their time in the office, employees are always in the field, interacting with the world on a daily basis. As such, they have first hand that was considered very helpful in this research.

Methodology

Research Method

This chapter focuses on various aspects of research development. It includes methods of data collection, analysis, and presentation. Every research project applies a certain research method to achieve its objectives depending on its goals.

The methods used to conduct research in this project would compare closely with the methods proposed in the project proposal (Anderson, 2004) In research, design deals primarily with aims, uses, purposes, intentions, and plans within the practical constraints of time, location, money, and availability of staff (Hakim, 2000).

In this study, respondents were briefed in advance. The officials of various organizations were given relevant notice before the onset of the research. The study population would be informed amicably to get it prepared for the study. Briefing was important because it could enhance reliability of the study.

It is also ethical to inform people before researching on them. The findings were also made public to the researched as one way of ensuring morality in the study. Furthermore, ethics was observed in the research by keeping away from criticism. The response rate was high because the participants were clearly informed that the study was purely academic. This encouraged many employees at Wynn to fill in their questionnaires.

Research Model

This research utilized quantitative research methods in conducting the study and collecting data. Quantitative research was used because it aims at summarizing data mathematically. In this regard, the research took the form of a survey, whereby some individuals were identified, and the questionnaires posted to them.

The sampled population was selected randomly in order to eliminate biases. Follow-ups were made by conducting respondents on phone. Interviewing is another method of data collection that was used in this research. More information was extracted from respondents by calling them.

Questionnaire Design

There were two key methods used to gather information in this report. The first one was through a questionnaire, which was administered online to the heads of various projects in fifteen organizations. The questionnaire sought to capture various attitudes of heads of projects regarding the effectiveness of multiple-attribute decision-making technique.

The second source of information used for the research was literature on various aspects motivation. The focus of the literature review was to find information on the application of multiple-attribute decision-making techniques and to determine the current state of research in the use of the technique. The questionnaire had four parts.

The first part sought to capture the bio-data information of respondents. The second part dealt with the demography and gender of the respondents. This was to ascertain the prevalence of views in various categories in order to ensure that if any differences came about, then they would be captured in their demographic space.

The third part dealt with academic credentials and work experience. The motivation for this section came from the understanding that different sections of population respond differently to management techniques, based on age and academic credentials. The fourth part delved into the specific issues relating to multiple-attribute decision-making technique, starting from the understanding of the concept to the possible effects it would have on projects.

The questionnaire also employed a mix of open ended and closed ended questions to capture different aspects of issues studied. Open-ended questions were used because they give respondents more time to figure out their opinions, which would make them volunteer more information related to feelings, outlooks, and comprehension of the subject. This would enhance understanding of the position of respondents as regards to feelings.

Open-ended questions minimize some errors that could have been created in the course of research. Respondents rarely forget answers if given an opportunity to respond freely. Furthermore, respondents cannot ignore some questions because they must go through all of them. Open-ended questions generate data that can be used in data analysis by other relevant authorities. In other words, they allow secondary data analysis. On the other hand, closed-ended questions are analyzed easily. That is why they were used in this study.

Each response can be coded for statistical interpretation. Nonetheless, closed-ended questions are compatible with computer analysis package. The technique is specific meaning that its answers are consistent in all conditions. This aspect is impossible with open-ended questions because each respondent is allowed to use his or her own words. Finally, closed-ended questions take less time to administer unlike open-ended questions, which are detailed hence time consuming.

The questionnaires were sent to the respective respondents through the internet. The decision was arrived at after considering time and resources. The method is cost less and less time consuming. Furthermore, the method allows respondents to reflect on the questions and answer them accurately.

Employing research assistants would be problematic because of the sensitivity of the study. Many people would be reluctant to give their views freely. The method is ineffective because answers are dependent on each other. The respondent might not have filled the questions themselves. Moreover, the method is affected by the respondent’s level of literacy. One big disadvantage of the technique is that there is no interaction between the researcher and the researched.

This means that respondent’s reactions are not captured. Reactions are important because they give more information regarding the feelings of respondents. Generally, the technique is more applicable where there is need for numbers, not deep feelings of the respondent. In this study, the interest was in identifying the number of project managers who feel multiple-attribute decision-making technique is the suitable method of evaluating projects.

The literature collected provided information regarding various theories of project evaluation and assessment across the last four decades. This provides a historical perspective since the area of project evaluation started receiving specific attention at that period.

Secondly, the literature availed a number of theories dealing with the application of multiple-attribute decision-making technique in the business world and project management in the context of program evaluation and assessment. The projects selected for study fit well within this parameter.

Finally, the literature provided information on the state of research on the field. Various social scientists have conducted studies on various elements of multiple-attribute decision-making technique and its effect on projects. This gave the study a sound academic backing and a strong basis for drawing comparisons and conclusions.

The use of the questionnaire made it possible to capture issues that are unique to project evaluation and monitoring using multiple-attribute decision-making technique.

This is because there was no accessible literature with required degree of relevance to the subject matter about multiple-attribute decision-making technique. The targeted staff responded to the questionnaire online. The availability of staff influenced the choice of this method because the project heads operate throughout and therefore it is not possible at any one time to find all of them in one place.

An online questionnaire reduced the costs of data collection, assured confidentiality, and was available throughout for the staff for a fixed period (Kerzner, 2003). After collection, the data went through analysis, culminating the observations and conclusions discussed in chapter three and four, respectively.

The Project

This was a project to determine how effective projects can be evaluated using the integrated approach. In using multiple-attribute making technique, members of the project would have to get actively involved in the process. The members came up with the projects to be evaluated. They have the experience from the field and as such, their input is invaluable in this process.

At first, the projects would have to be put together and the best selected for evaluation. It is important that the management team justify why some of the projects that other members of the team could have developed cannot be implemented. This is very important because the members would feel that their efforts were appreciated, only that this time they were not good enough.

It would be a challenge and a motivation for them to work hard next time and develop projects that would meet the expectation of the entire team members. It is also important that they be informed of the possible mistakes they could have made in their previous works. This would help tune them positively for the process of evaluation and selection of the evaluation.

The project manager should then table all the projects that are considered effective to be implemented. Members should be allowed enough to time to study the project and conduct personal evaluations on them. This can be done before the team can sit for the discussion and evaluation. The team that came up with each project would then be given opportunity to explain their project to the entire team, categorically stating expected benefits against the possible challenges.

It is from this that the project would be discussed. The team would be put to task to explain how the challenges can be overcome, and how the stated benefits would be able to counter the possible challenges in this research. The team members would then be given the opportunity to discuss the project from all the possible angles. Because they had been given opportunity to go through the proposed project earlier, they would have question as regard to a possible loophole in the project.

In this process, it is important that members not simply be subjected to questioning. They should also come up with the best ways or additives they think would add value to the project. This way the team would be in opposition to come up with the best possible project out of the number that could have been proposed (Van, & Terry, 2002).

Discussion

It is clear from the above evaluation of this approach that for every project, there are various factors to be considered. First, the project must be legal in the given location within which it is to be implemented. A project may be ambitious but illegal within a given fraternity.

As such, it may not be implemented, however good it might have appeared in paper and in practicality. If such a project would be evaluated and selected without considering the legal aspect, the firm would be subjected to litigation, besides the project being shut in its course. This would not just hurt the finance of the firm, but also its image. Another instance that many business units have always assumed is the concern of the community (Schwalbe, 2005). Community is one of the most important aspects of a firm.

Their interest must be factored in when making the decision. Take an instance of such issues like the position of women in the society. Some societies still believe strongly that men should guide women when it comes to making decision on issues of importance in the family. The project therefore should not be seen to reverse the role of women by letting them be seen as heads of the family.

A project that involves promotion of this product would have to determine how to make this society appreciate the importance of this product to the social life without making them offended. This procedure must be determined in the project evaluation stage. The decision making process must therefore take into consideration all possible factors that may be of concern to the implementation process.

Conclusion

Just as a planner has to anticipate implementation process and plan for it before actual implementation starts, he or she has to anticipate for monitoring and evaluation, as well as plan for them before actual implementation. Monitoring and evaluation need to be in-built in the implementation process.

It is necessary therefore to monitor the progress of the project and to ensure that activities are being carried out according to the plan. Monitoring is usually done continuously. It is important to consider the type of monitoring to be carried out. In addition to monitoring, the planner is also to carry put a detailed evaluation of the program. This is done after completion of the program or at specific points in the implementation process. Evaluation calls for collection of additional data, which are related to the project.

Evaluation helps the planner to identify new problems or issues, which should become the focus of planning in future. Generally, monitoring and evaluation are means of measuring past successes and failures, as well as providing information needed to improve future planning activities.

Recommendations

Project evaluation is very important and every care must be taken to ensure that there is no misstep in the process of selecting a project to be implemented. Following the above discussion, some factors would be recommended for consideration by any firm that is carrying out evaluation of a project.

A project involves teamwork. Every member of the organization is important to the project evaluation, especially if he or she will be required to participate at any stage in its implementation. As such, they should all be incorporated in the decision making process. This may even be done in stages, allowing them to make their observation on the project and making their own recommendation on how best they feel the project can be implemented.
The legality and societal acceptance should always be given the first priority for there to be any success. A project that is illegal, however ideal it may look like, may not live to see the light of the day. Should it be implemented, the authorities, besides earning the firm a bad name and a fine, would shut it down. The community forms the market. Unless the product is to be manufactured in that community and sold elsewhere, when the community does not approve the product from that project, it would never receive any market.
In the process of making the decision on the evaluation and selection of a project care should be taken to ensure that the project is as realistic as is possible. The idea can be good, but it has to be considered beyond its beauty in paper.
When making decision, the project manager should ensure that besides the above factors, all other facets of the project is comprehensively looked at, given all the members opportunity to air and even discuss their views, putting into consideration the constrain of time and finance meant for the project.

References

Anderson, K. (2004). Research Methods in Human Resource Management. London: Chattered institute of Personell Management Publishing.

Davidson, M. (2003). Frame Managing Projects in Organizations, How to Make the Best Use of Time, Technique, and People. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Hakim, C. (2000). Research Design: Sucessful Designs for Social and Economic Research. New York: Routledge.

Hamilton, A. (2004). Handbook of Project Management Procedures. New York: TTL Publishing.

Harvey, L. (2005). Project Portfolio Management, A Practical Guide to Selecting Projects. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Kerzner, H. (2003). Project Management, A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. New York: Wiley.

Schwalbe, K. (2005). Introduction to Project Management. New York: Course Technology.

Van, P., & Terry, S. (2002). Modeling Complex Projects. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Appendices

Research Questionnaire

Part 1

Date

Name

Job title

Email

Contact Address

Part 2

Are you
Male ___
Female ___
How old are you
18-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
50+

Part 3

How long have you worked at the Wynn___
How Long have you worked in Housekeeping section___
How many years of experience do you have in housekeeping___
How many employers have you had___
What is your current pay ($)
5000-10,000
10,001- 15,000
15001- 20,000
20,001-25,000
25,001-30,000
31,001-35,000

Part 4

What do you understand by Integrated Project Evaluation and Selection Using Multiple-Attribute Decision Making Technique?
Have you ever been involved in project evaluation as an employee of Wynn Inc.?
What is you view on Integrated Project Evaluation and Selection Using Multiple-Attribute Decision Making Technique?
What are the roles that you as the employee of Wynn in the process of integrated Project evaluation and selection?
What are some of the factors that Wynn should consider in the process of integrated project evaluation
Do you think that Wynn has done enough in implementing Integrated Project Evaluation and Selection Using Multiple-Attribute Decision Making Technique?
Yes

Comment:

No

Comment:

What do you think this firm should do to ensure that it gets the best in the process of Integrated Project Evaluation and Selection Using Multiple-Attribute Decision Making Technique?

We highly appreciate your assistance in collecting the above data. We will treat the information provided as confidential. The data is purely meant for academic purposes.

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