Assessing Implementation capability of public programs


By Raju Rao, PMP, SCPM, OPM3 Certified Professional

Chennai, India


Why assess public programs?

Public projects and programs are being planned and executed around the world in various areas, e.g. education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. A large part of these initiatives are funded directly or indirectly by the government and public financial institutions. In democratic societies it becomes imperative that the accountability of performance of these programs are assessed and reported back to the people who elected representatives to govern them.

But, is the information on performance of such projects being transmitted to the people? Often times, the layers of bureaucratic procedures and systems of governance impede direct communication between the elected lawmakers and the people. It is therefore not unusual that think tanks and activist organizations have sprung up to safeguard people’s interests.

The project management fraternity has a unique opportunity to contribute here. Project management associations have been successful in bringing together professionals with skills, experience and have provided the platform for professional development. Project professionals can evaluate public programs and assess if they have the capability to implement their vision and goals.

In this paper, public programs in India have been assessed and would serve as examples for a methodology where the input or data for the analysis is limited to published information. No attempt is made to interview concerned people or verify physically the facts, While this may not stand up to scrutiny in terms of academic rigour, it still provides an excellent opportunity to get professionals involved in assessing public projects and give their opinion on implementation capability. While the examples considered are only from India, the methodology will apply equally well to public programs in any other country and in this sense it is universal.

Programs and Missions

Various programs, missions and initiatives have been considered which were instituted In India by the government in 2014. Table 1 lists a number of such programs and missions. Eight of these have been considered as examples for analysis in this paper. These programs could be classified under two categories:

Enabling: e.g. make in India, Ease of doing Business, and JAM Trinity.

These are not ‘directly’ involved in meeting a need, deriving benefits or achieving a particular objective in a sector or domain but are supportive and act as ‘enablers’.

Direct: e.g. DMIC, Swachh Bharat Mission and eBiz.

These are ‘direct’ interventions intended to meet a need, derive benefits or achieve a particular objective in a sector or domain and may or may not get support from ‘enablers’.

The processes and skills required for above two types could be different for each, for e.g. an ‘enabler’ would require more focus on stakeholder management. If the program is ‘direct’ it would have larger financial outlays. Further, both the types could be a projectized / mission mode or program approach whereas others could be working in a non-project operational mode as in on a functional organization. While broadly they have been classified in two categories, in some cases there could be an overlap in they are implemented.


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About the Reviewer

Raju Rao, PMP

Chennai, India


Raju Rao
, PMP, SCPM, OPM3 Cert Professional is Founder and Principal consultant – Xtraplus Solutions, a PM consulting and training company based in Chennai, India. Mr Rao has a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Madras, India; an Advanced PM certificate from Stanford University; and a certificate from IIM Calcutta. He has about 40 years’ experience in engineering, process and project management and has been an active member of PMI for several years. He held leadership positions in both the 1st and 2nd edition projects of OPM3 and has been involved in development of several PMI standards and awards.

Mr Rao has been a visiting and adjunct faculty for engineering and business schools in India. He has presented numerous papers in global congresses and is the coauthor of two books – Project Management Circa 2025 published by PMI and Organizational Project Management published by Management Concepts, USA. Raju has been a President of South India section of AACE International and is the founder of the Indian Project Management Forum.

Raju Rao lives in Chennai, India and can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Raju Rao, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/raju-rao/