An Explanation of Project Evaluation (And How to Do One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 26, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project managers analyze the objectives, goals, and effects of the projects they handle. They use project evaluation or project assessment to determine the impact and success of projects. Diverse types of project assessment tools and techniques offer insight and highlight areas that may require improvement. Learning how to execute project assessment procedures into an organization's workflow can help you become a more effective manager. In this article, we describe what project evaluation is, discover their standards, highlight different types of assessment, discuss their positive outcomes, and explain how to conduct one.

What is a project evaluation?

A project evaluation is a strategy that project managers use to determine the impact and success of projects, policies, and programs. As the evaluator, you gather essential information to analyze the process and effect of a particular project. Evaluating projects can lead to changes in the internal workflow of a company. The evaluation process detects patterns in the target audience of a project, leads to plans for projects that are upcoming or provides a statement of the value of projects to peripheral stakeholders.

Related: A Complete Guide to Performing a Stakeholder Analysis

What are the standards of a project assessment?

There are various standards of a project assessment that ensure evaluations are trustworthy and add to the business' overall success. The standards provide a foundation that can guide the evaluation process from beginning to end. Here are the standards of project assessment:

  • Look to enhance performance: Your team learns new processes from each evaluation, and the concepts they learn can add to the continuous improvement of practices.

  • Contribute to organizational learning: By creating a habit of regular feedback, you can foster constant learning and organizational growth.

  • Share project participation: When you distribute the outcomes of the project assessment to stakeholders, it increases the amount of participation from others outside the team, communicating reliability and transparency.

  • Focus on the results: Conducting regular evaluations may help guide projects towards attainable outcomes.

  • Foster relationships with stakeholders: Including stakeholders in each assessment phase can increase their trust in you and your team's talents.

  • Use credible processes: When performing a project assessment, it's vital to use verifiable and reliable strategies, processes, and practices.

  • Conduct ethical evaluations: Choosing and executing a style of project assessment needs cautious attention to ethics for the benefit of employees and the project's sensitivity.

  • Evaluate constantly: Building an organizational habit of evaluation can improve and equip teams and project results.

Kinds of project assessments

The following is a list of common types of project assessments to execute in your projects:

Pre-project assessment

Prior to starting a project, your team can evaluate whether it's possible to complete it successfully. This type of evaluation often happens naturally in the developmental phase of projects. Knowing whether you can successfully complete a project is a crucial step for the effective execution of the project. It's vital that everyone involved in the project is aware of the objectives and goals before starting work.

Continuous evaluation

During the lifecycle of a project, you can use metrics to verify completed tasks. The tasks can include the budget, the percentage of completed jobs, and the total quality of the work delivered so far. When doing continuing evaluations, it's vital to stay focused on the original goals and objectives while the project has started, keeping the team on track.

Read more: How to Create a Project Communication Plan (With Template)

Post-project assessment

After the completion of a project, it's essential to analyze the effects and impacts of the project. The results help quantify how effective the project was in meeting the goals and objectives established at the start. The consequences may determine how successful the project was in creating tangible changes for the target audience.

Self-evaluation

You can do a self-evaluation at any point during the lifecycle of a project. Self-evaluation involves analyzing if the work you're doing contributes to the greater objectives and goals of the project. When you self-evaluate, you may recognize strengths and weaknesses and measure your successes. It also gives you the opportunity to determine your impact and can increase your ability to work effectively as a part of the team.

Related: Helpful Self-Evaluation Questions (With Definition and Tips)

External evaluation

Hiring an agency to perform the company's project assessments is an option. It's advisable that the agency you work with doesn't have any prior connection or involvement with the project, leading to a high level of impartiality when evaluating and coming to conclusions. External evaluations are valuable for projects that have stakeholders in large numbers.

What are the positive outcomes of performing a project assessment?

The benefits of conducting a project assessment range from the organization's internal growth to the external success achieved in the industry. It's possible to benefit from achieving successful results in a project and realize additional benefits after concluding the evaluation. The benefits of performing a project assessment include:

  • Tracks team performance: When you do project assessments, you keep records of past evaluations to track progress over a series of projects.

  • Highlight areas that need improvement: As you do more project assessments, you may notice trends and patterns that can help you better understand how the team can improve.

  • Measures tangible impact of the project: The team can see the project's effect in the public space with objective metrics and feedback to quantify it.

  • Incorporates stakeholders in the process: Involving vital stakeholders reassures them of the quality of finalized, evaluated projects.

  • Enables team reflection and accountability: While making effort to improve, members of the team hold themselves and each other accountable.

  • Sharpens planning process based on past evaluations: You can plan for future projects based on newly discovered knowledge about how the team operates.

How to complete a project assessment

Project assessments require a plan and its successful implementation. Here is a list of the steps to complete an evaluation:

1. Create an evaluation plan

Establish goals and objectives as you develop a project to provide structure and a clear path for the team. The goals and objectives help you determine which type of evaluation you want to do. The evaluation plan includes as many tools and methods as you see fit for your chosen evaluation. For example, if one of the goals is to increase employee productivity, analyzing task completion metrics can help indicate an increase in productivity rates.

Read more: What Is a Project Management Plan? With Tips and Examples

2. Determine the source of evaluation and get organized

Once you've chosen an evaluation plan, it's time to identify the sources of information. If you decide to do interviews, select all the people you want to interview. It's crucial to gather all the materials you need for each method. For example, when conducting interviews, you can prepare the interview questions and determine a way to track and store the responses. You can delegate tasks or make a detailed timetable to further prepare for implementing the evaluation plan.

3. Implement project assessment

The implementation of your project assessment may look different based on the type of evaluation and the methods or tools you choose to use. It's essential to cover certain elements when conducting evaluations. The following is a list of what to focus on when implementing evaluations:

  • Pre-project assessment: Try to focus on creating goals and objectives and assessing the viability of the project.

  • Ongoing evaluation: Monitor details like the schedule, budget, and quality of the work done.

  • Post-project assessment: Measure the project's success based on impact and effect.

4. Analyze the data

After collecting all the data for your evaluation, analyze the data for strengths, weaknesses, and trends. Look at how closely the project adhered to the original goals and objectives. Depending on the type of data gathered, use a tracking system for organization and storage. You can use the team's goals and objectives to interpret the data collected.

5. Develop a report for your team

In addition to interpreting the data collected, you can develop a report that summarizes the evaluation outcomes. You may structure the report according to the needs of the team and stakeholders. The practice of preparing a report for your team is valuable. It may underline areas that require improvement, highlight the unintended and intended effects of the project, and quantify the extent to which the team met the goals and objectives of the project.

6. Discuss next steps

Once complete, you can share the report with team members and stakeholders. Sharing the outcomes of the project assessment strengthens communication, encourages innovative suggestions for team improvement, builds stronger relationships with stakeholders, and provides a guide on how to improve upcoming projects by relaying project assessment results. You can start the discussion by talking about how to move forward based on the outcomes and affects of the project.

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