Post Project Evaluation (Post Audit)
Meaning of Post Project Evaluation:
Post project evaluation represents assessment of the project after its completion, analyzing the actual, as against the projected estimates in respect of time, cost and quality specifications. The evaluation includes investigation of the variances per constituent of the project objectives (and, within such constituent, major elements of variances) leading to the assessment of the overall situation.
The project appraisal is the pre-investment evaluation of estimates/forecasts etc. as envisaged in the proposed project which helps in taking a decision in favour or against such investment.
The post project evaluation, on the other hand, is the audit and assessment of the actual as against the project budgets, based on which the project was launched and completed. While the ‘appraisal’ contains estimations for future, the ‘evaluation’ is to find the ‘valuation’ of what has happened practically.
In India, such evaluation of many government projects are carried out by:
- Programme Evaluation Organisation (PEO) to evaluate the working of Community Development Projects,
- Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General for the Public Sector Projects.
The post project evaluation should be open-minded and courageous in revealing and analysing the facts. International financial institutions like World Bank have emphasised post project evaluation, as the outcome of such evaluation is very much useful for its assistance and dealing with possible future projects.
Objective of Post Project Evaluation:
By the process of implementation of a project, the project owner, the financial institution involved in the project, and the project management are all enriched with abundant experience, as also the contractor employed for the project. The objective of evaluation of the project after its completion is to learn from such experience.
The details of such evaluation can be interpreted and used in different ways according to the perspectives of the concerns interested in the project. The fundamental objective, however, is the possible use of the valuable knowledge and experience gathered from the completion of the project.
The project owner as well as the project management is, on completion of the project, equipped with a store of information the invaluable database which can be retained for possible future usage.
The financial institution may find from the post project evaluation the weakness in project appraisal at the initial stage and/or lack of necessary monitoring by itself during the implementation process etc. and, thus, modify its lending policy for the future.
A contractor may achieve his scheduled targets but, in doing so, suffer severe financial loss due to inadequacy in his bidding, and, by post project evaluation, he can make use of his experience and take necessary safeguard measures in his tender for future projects.
It will appear from the above that the fundamental objective is to record the findings from the evaluation, so that the observations can be of immense help in future.
The objectives of post project evaluation also include the need for assessment of the situation on completion of the project as such evaluation may reveal the need for some corrective measures.
Process of Post Project Evaluation:
In spite of all the latest tools and techniques and helps from sophisticated automation system, the track record of larger and complex project is in general poor. There are endless instances where actual on completion of the projects are wide out of the budgets.
In view of this the post project evaluation is immensely important.
The process of such evaluation can be carried out in two phases:
(a) Soon after the completion of the project; and
(b) After the lapse of about two years since the completion of the project.
(A) Evaluation soon after the completion of the project:
The process of evaluation can be carried out by questioning method and include:
- What has happened in actual?
- How do the actual stand as compared to projected estimates?
- What are the areas showing variances?
Such variances are to be located and investigated individual area-wise. This is because considerable unfavourable variance in an area may be set-off with favourable variances in other area leading to insignificant difference between the totals of actual and estimates. Analysis of small variances ranging within seven to eight per cent may be avoided.
What are the reasons for such variances and:
How much of it was unavoidable and how?
How much of it was avoidable:
(a) What are the reasons for such avoidable variances?
(b) What else could have been done?
(c) How and when it could have been done?
(B) Evaluation after the lapse of about two years since completion of the project: The questions include:
- Whether the goal with regard to the technology envisaged is achieved, e.g. the quality, the capacity of the plant etc.?
- What are the reasons for shortfalls, if any, as evaluated in (1) above. The reasons for shortfalls may include deficiencies in the plant layouts, the machineries installed, the standard of inputs etc.
- What else could have been done to avoid the shortfalls noted as in (2) above?
- Whether the market share as envisaged in the project is being achieved? If not, what are the reasons for missing the target?
Additionally, the process of evaluation should also aim towards the assessment of necessary corrective measures.