3.3 Evaluation during implementation of a project
At this stage the project activities are monitored to determine how their timing, quality and cost match the plan. The results of this monitoring are reviewed to see whether the plan needs to be modified. New environmental conditions may indicate the need to change the organisation's strategic direction. It might be necessary in that case to re-align the project, so that the outcomes relate to the new direction. In some cases it may be necessary to abort the project, if it is no longer appropriate or likely to make a useful contribution.
Incorporating this kind of evaluation as part of the project plan (formative evaluation) can considerably enhance the likelihood of achieving useful outcomes. If formative evaluation is to take place, it should be integral to the project's design. It can facilitate a more organic change process, with testing and refining built in as the project progresses. But formative evaluation can increase the complexity of a project, because of the need to timetable an extra set of deadlines. It will also add new items to the risk log, particularly the risk of delays. If formative evaluation results in decisions to make significant changes to the project, it may lengthen the time-scale, increase the budget or necessitate additional quality measures.