School of Property, Construction & Project Management

HDR Candidate in Profile: Youmni Al-Jrab

Youmni Colored Photo 1

Research Topic: The Role of Project Management Processes in the Success of NGOs’ Aid/Development Projects.


“Much research has been carried out on project management practices addressing performance gaps in managing NGO aid/development projects such as The Logical Framework Approach (LFA) and although it is mentioned in some articles that LFA has proven to be a valuable tool for project design and evaluation, it was announced that it contains few pitfalls and make it hard to use with today’s project management framework especially that it is inflexible, complex, and difficult to integrate with other project management tools (Sartorius, 1996).  However, after undertaking a literature review, I conclude that almost no researchers have applied the PMBOK project management processes to NGO aid/development. The closest to this happening has been the project management Institute (PMI) post disaster rebuild methodology (PMI 2005) though this has been criticized, however the post disaster NGO projects and those projects within the scope of this thesis are different.

The PMI has developed the best practices in managing projects and has developed the PMBOK guide over the last decades which is a recognized standard for the project management profession and provides guidelines for managing individual projects.  These processes have been applied and followed by most professions and have guaranteed the success of these professions’ projects. However, these processes have not been followed by most of NGOs. Nevertheless, some study of project management techniques has been recently applied to international aid projects. One significant problem that was identified from this work was that project delivery is often inhibited by poor quality and thus ineffective project management.

Critical success factors leading to or contributing to success of for-profit businesses has received significant research interest. However, interest in not-for-profit organizations with aid/development projects that are managed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has received less attention. This is despite the fact that these projects are taking place in many third world countries where many people need many different types of aid and development projects to improve their chances of having meaningful and sustainable life. These types of aid/development NGOs projects provide socio-economic assistance to undeveloped countries with the main objectives being concerned with: poverty alleviation; living standards improvement; environment protection; development of basic physical and social infrastructures.  Deliverables benefits tend to be less visible and measurable when compared to those of the private sector.

My research, therefore, addresses the problem of poor aid project delivery in the Middle East context through a study of how existing aid projects are project managed and undertaking and evaluating a process improvement approach.

This research aims to demonstrate how improved PM delivery of NGOs’ aid/development projects can enhance improvement of aid recipients’ chances for a meaningful and sustainable life. To achieve that aim I will:

  • Identify and develop appropriate critical success factors (CSF) for this context;
  • Identify and develop an appropriate PM approach; and
  • Identify and develop a research approach to both model and test an effective improvement in PM delivery of these kinds of project.


This thesis is predicated upon two propositions:

  • Traditional PM tools and processes (the PM approach as proposed by the PMI PMBOK Guide) are poorly applied, within a Middle east context, to the delivery of aid/development projects of the kind to be studied;
  • A traditional PM approach can be adapted to enhance the delivery of aid/development projects of the kind to be studied; and
  • Effective strategies can be developed to instigate continuous improvement in such projects provided that effective organizational learning and knowledge management principles are applied to ensure that lessons learned are effectively passed on from one project to others.

The proposed research will achieve this aim through contributing to an improved understanding for the NGO PM community of PM processes by analyzing which sustainable processes are required that a non-governmental organization should follow to successfully deliver their aid/development projects. These aid/development projects aim to improve people’s living conditions in emerging countries to enhance their agricultural, health, career or education and any other aspects of their lives. The study will be set in a Middle Eastern context because that is where I am based and it is both convenient for me to base the study in this region and I would like to contribute to my local region. Results may well be more broadly applicable.

The key research theme applied through this research is:

How might following and applying the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) project management processes by NGO aid/development projects increase the degree of their project success?”

Author: Youmni Al-Jrab

Photo: Youmni Al-Jrab


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This entry was posted on December 13, 2015 by .
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