The “P’s” & “Q’s” of Assessing


Program & Project ‘Outcome’ Effectiveness



By Dr. Kenneth Smith, PMP

Honolulu, Hawaii
& Manila, The Philippines


My letter to the Editor last month highlighted my concern that the Project Management Institute’s 7th Edition of their PMBOK® broadens the Project Management Team’s scope of responsibilities to encompass effective delivery of Outcomes.  Although still only a “Guide” rather than an absolute edict, regardless of where you stand on the issue, there is still a need by executives, managers and project management practitioners at all levels for increased awareness and understanding of tools & techniques to assess Outcome effectiveness. 

To that end, the following two ‘Best Practice’ techniques in the professional Evaluator’s toolkit are available:

  1. Pearson’s Correlation Analysis to assess the possible extent of ‘Cause & Effect’ between project deliverables and their Outcomes, and
  2. Yule’s ‘Qto determine the ‘Necessity & Sufficiency’ of those deliverables – i.e. your program & project Inputs and Outputs — to attain Outcomes.


Whenever government and business executives envision improving situations within their areas of responsibility, they clarify the felt need in accordance with their Vision; specifying the Outcomes desired, then mustering resources to initiate programs & projects to deliver the requisite wherewithal – i.e. infrastructure, goods and/or services – to achieve their objectives.

The importance of relating project deliverables to organizational strategic objectives was recognized by the international development community[1] in the late 1960’s and they subsequently adopted or adapted the Logical Framework technique[2] to address the issue.  [My April 2021 PMWJ article[3] describes the concerns and issues precipitating the Logframe’s origin, as well as its evolution, scope and respective managerial-level constraints.]

Until the 7th Edition of its PMBOK in 2021, however, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was largely oblivious to the ‘Output-to-Outcome’ issue; or treated it with benign neglect. So, PMI’s recent recognition that “Projects do not simply produce outputs, but more importantly, enable those outputs to drive outcomes that ultimately deliver value to the organization and its stakeholders[4] is a welcome addition to the program / project management community at large.

Nevertheless, I contend PMI’s new stance of holding Project Managers and their teams responsible for also attaining those Outcomes[5] is excessive, incongruous, misdirected and untenable.  My aforementioned PMWJ article outlined the basis for this disparity and the impracticability of the new PMI position, but the point is worth reemphasizing with a few ‘For Instances’ from different sectors:

Agriculture:  Individual farmers manage, plant, nurture, harvest and market their crops – not the project team!  The project management team providing field demonstrations, credit, inputs and extension services to farm communities and individual farmers cannot be held responsible for attaining the increased crop productivity, production and farm incomes upon which the project farm plans & budgets were premised.


To read entire article, click here

How to cite this article: Smith, K. F. (2022).  The “P’s” & “Q’s” of Assessing Program & Project ‘Outcome’ Effectiveness, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue III, March. Online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/pmwj115-Mar2022-Smith-the-Ps-Qs-of-assessing-outcome-program-project-effectiveness.pdf

About the Author

Dr. Kenneth Smith

Honolulu, Hawaii
& Manila, The Philippines


 Initially a US Civil Service Management Intern, then a management analyst & systems specialist with the US Defense Department, Ken subsequently had a career as a senior foreign service officer — management & evaluation specialist, project manager, and in-house facilitator/trainer — with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  Ken assisted host country governments in many countries to plan, monitor and evaluate projects in various technical sectors; working ‘hands-on’ with their officers as well as other USAID personnel, contractors and NGOs.  Intermittently, he was also a team leader &/or team member to conduct project, program & and country-level portfolio analyses and evaluations.

Concurrently, Ken had an active dual career as Air Force ready-reservist in Asia (Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines) as well as the Washington D.C. area; was Chairman of a Congressional Services Academy Advisory Board (SAAB); and had additional duties as an Air Force Academy Liaison Officer.  He retired as a ‘bird’ colonel.

After retirement from USAID, Ken was a project management consultant for ADB, the World Bank, UNDP and USAID.

He earned his DPA (Doctor of Public Administration) from the George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia, his MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Systems Analysis Fellow, Center for Advanced Engineering Study), and BA & MA degrees in Government & International Relations from the University of Connecticut (UCONN).  A long-time member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and IPMA-USA, Ken is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) and a member of the PMI®-Honolulu and Philippines Chapters.

Ken’s book — Project Management PRAXIS (available from Amazon) — includes many innovative project management tools & techniques; and describes a “Toolkit” of related templates available directly from him at kenfsmith@aol.com on proof of purchase of PRAXIS.

To view other works by Ken Smith, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-kenneth-smith/

[1] i.e. USAID, the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, etc.,
[2] Developed by Leon Rosenberg & Larry Posner of Practical Concepts, Inc. (PCI), for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
[3] Smith, K. F. (2021).  Managing Project & Strategic Objectives with Logframe Analysis and the Logical Framework, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IV, April.
[4] The Standard for Project Management and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. (PMBOK GUIDE 7th Edition. Preface, Summary of Changes. p. xi.
[5] i.e. “Project Manager. The person assigned by the performing organization to lead the project team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives [Emphasis mine.] — Ibid. p. 16.