Undertaking a full assessment of whether a proposal is feasible or not is a substantial piece of work and may even become a project in its own right. In the early days, a project manager may be involved but sometimes is not. However, it is important for any project manager to understand the processes by which proposals are evaluated and assessed.
At this point, let us assume that we have a project proposal, or quite probably several proposals, to consider. We need to decide next whether any of them are worth pursuing further. We need to assess their feasibility.
In what follows, we do not expect you to learn all the details or memorise all the terms, particularly those associated with cost–benefit analyses and accounting. However, you will find it beneficial as a practising project manager to be able to read proposals with a critical eye. Have we reached agreement on the statement of requirements? How complete is the specification? How sound is the method used to calculate profitability? How good is the assessment of the technical and technological factors? Have social, political and environmental factors been considered adequately?
As you study this section, bear in mind that your aim should be to develop your critical faculties for when you assess proposals.
At the end of Section 2, you should be able to:
- describe the elements of a feasibility study
- state the general aims of a functional specification
- describe what a scenario is and generate some simple scenarios in response to a statement of a problem
- assess the maturity of a technology
- use tools for the development or assessment of a proposal
- understand the uses and limitations of payback, rate of return and discounted cash flow methods
- understand the importance of risk.