Risk Management – a risk itself

Risk Management – a risk itself

Development Sector, Project Management, Tools

This article was originally published by Trevor K Nelson.

We hear (and use) the terms Risk Identification and Risk Management to generally mean two distinct things. The identification of potential risks, and then after they’re identified, the management/mitigation to prevent those possibilities. But in reality they’re variations of the same process.

True. Risk Identification is the process of simply that – identifying potential risks to the project. And Risk Management is the process of mitigating against those potential risks.

But it doesn’t stop there. Risk Identification isn’t something that’s done a the beginning of the project, and then you shift to Risk Management. Risk identification is an ongoing process that should be done (at the very least) at the beginning of each new phase. Each new phase, each new work package, each new interaction with a vendor sets the stage for new potential risks. Continue reading “Risk Management – a risk itself”

Monitoring & Evaluation: phase or integrated principle?

Monitoring & Evaluation: phase or integrated principle?

Lisa Garland and Sonia Moldovan will discuss the challenges of Monitoring and Evaluation processes, from a perspective of a project phase or an integrated principle.

You can see the panelists bio at the end of this page.

May 21, 2018 2:00 PM in 

Monitoring & Evaluation: phase or integrated principle?


Lisa Robbins-Garland
Board Member @PM4NGOs
Lisa Robbins-Garland has over 10 years of experience in international humanitarian and development work, with firsthand experience of how program management can make or break our ability to achieve positive change. As Senior Advisor for Program Management, she is currently managing revisions to Mercy Corps’ Program Management policy, minimum standards, manual, toolkit and global support model.

Sonia Moldovan
Senior MEL Technical Lead @Mercy Corps
Sonia is a results driven development practitioner with over a decade of experience implementing Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Systems and managing multimillion dollar USAID, World Bank, USTDA and MCC-funded programs.
Why adding budgeting skills to your project toolkit is important

Why adding budgeting skills to your project toolkit is important

Project Management, Tools

This article was originally published on Humentum by Terry Lewis.

Successful project outcomes require careful management of resources, including the significant sums of money donated to NGOs. That is why everyone involved in project planning and implementation should sharpen up their budgeting skills. In this blog I’ll share six important reasons why we should all have budgeting skills in our toolkits.



As the saying goes: If you don’t know where you are going, you are sure to end up somewhere else. A budget is a monetary translation of an activity plan. It helps us to achieve project objectives. A budget is a critical part of the project planning and accountability process: it enables us to put a cost on every planned activity, and to keep track of progress to make sure we are achieving goals.



Continue reading “Why adding budgeting skills to your project toolkit is important”

PM4NGOs People – Tikajit Rai

PM4NGOs People – Tikajit Rai

Board Members

Tikajit Rai has worked in both development and commercial spaces for more than 16 years in driving projects and startups to sustainability. In Nepal, what he co-founded in 2004 as a social enterprise to help farming communities to adapt ICT through cooperatives has now become the most sustainable project in the country. While leading the enterprise, he also worked as a consultant for projects funded by World Bank, UNESCAP, the Asian Development Bank, UNDP, Practical Action, GIZ, and CECI that helped rural communities sustainably adopt ICT in the country.

Winner of 2013 Gold International Project Management Association (IPMA) Achievement Award and Runner-Up of Green Project Management the same year, he voluntarily serves as an Executive Director for Equality Foundation, a US based NGO that focuses on digital literacy. Also, he is an IPMA Achievement Award jury (for development projects), and a certified IPMA Project Excellence Assessor (for commercial projects). Continue reading “PM4NGOs People – Tikajit Rai”

Post-Harvest Loss

Post-Harvest Loss

Development Sector

This article was originally published on RedR UK.

RedR UK has partnered with Welthungerhilfe (WHH) to deliver trainings designed to help prevent post-harvest loss in Sudan.

In 2017 a total of 2,094 farmers attended training in Kassala and Red Sea states in Sudan.


The challenges faced by small scale farmers in Sudan

Aline Dessarzin, Head of programmes for WHH, explains:

“A big challenge is that a lot of the farmers have been displaced, so their agricultural methods are not really adapted to the locations where they are; to the land they work with, to the plants they work with. So to just increase the skill level a little bit already helps a lot.

Another challenge is that illiteracy rates in this area are very high. This meant that we needed to take a different approach with the training. You can’t just lecture people, you have to make it more participatory. So what RedR did was to develop a training package that focused a lot on pictures and practical exercises”. Continue reading “Post-Harvest Loss”

What are the project management challenges in the different business sectors?

What are the project management challenges in the different business sectors?

Project Management

This article was originally published on IPMA.


What are the main challenges facing different business sectors in Iceland in managing projects, as faced by representatives from different industries? This question was discussed at the annual spring conference organized jointly by the Icelandic Project Management Association and the MPM program (Master of Project Management) at Reykjavik University in 2017. Representatives of eight business sectors in Iceland came and gave brief presentations of these challenges. The seminar started with a short update on the general projectification of the Icelandic economy. Projects are a vital part of the economy and close to one third of working time in Icelandic organizations is devoted to project work. Some of the findings from this conference in Iceland are relevant for other countries. A summary of the talks is given below.

  • Major changes are ahead in the financial sector, driven by technological development and new EU regulations. The business models of commercial banks are changing, and they need to expand their project management capacity quickly to implement the forthcoming changes.
  • The healthcare sector is extremely complex, and all kinds of projects are carried out, IT projects, lean projects and change projects, to give a few examples. Projects in the healthcare sectors are often characterized many stakeholders, resources are limited, and staff has very limited time to participate in projects. The main challenges are to utilize time, increase value and reduce waste. Lean management has therefore become widely used in the sector.
  • A representative from higher education and research cited an international study that showed how important the effective management of projects is for the success of all companies. A student in the MPM program was cited, where he explained his decision to choose the MPM program rather than an MBA program; his reason was that there are much more projects to manage than companies.
  • It is a characteristic of the consulting sector that all revenues are created by selling the time of consultants, and the organization charts of the consultancies are very flat. The challenge here is that it is difficult to maintain overview of the use of resources, as each employee works in multiple projects simultaneously, and reports to many project managers. There is constant struggle over how to prioritize the use of employees between the different projects and clients.
  • Project selection can be a big challenge in product development companies and it is time to develop new tools, new selection models to help making better decisions and ensure better consensus in the choice of innovation projects.
  • The tourism industry has grown enormously in a short period of time. This has imposed big problems, there is lack of a holistic thinking for the industry, lack of strategy, low margin and there is lack of reliable data for policy making and decision making.
  • Power generation and distribution is an important industry with various project management challenges, some of them as basic as managing the chosen projects and steering them through the milestones. There are also problems regarding communication between the generations. Large groups of people are retiring, and younger people are talking over. The new generations work differently and think differently than the older generations, and effective communication between the generations needs to be managed.
  • There is considerable room for improvements in the governmental ministries. A major challenge here is the strong organizational hierarchy, a lack of follow-up of projects, limited effectiveness in project teams, and continuous struggle to understand the difference between urgent and important tasks. In the future, it is necessary to increase the interest in project management among managers and middle managers in the governmental ministries, as well as project management expertise.

Continue reading “What are the project management challenges in the different business sectors?”

Four Indicators of Financial Sustainability: How Secure is your Organisation’s Financial Future?

Four Indicators of Financial Sustainability: How Secure is your Organisation’s Financial Future?

Development Sector

This article was originally published on Linkedin by Terry Lewis.

It is a constant battle for NGOs to ‘make ends meet’ and find all the funds they need to continue their important work, year on year. It is even more of a challenge to think about and plan for the longer term. I wonder how many organisations have a clear strategy on how to finance their work in 3 to 5 years’ time?

Here is a simple framework for considering how secure your organisation’s financial future is:


  1. How diversified is your income?

‘Diversification’ means getting income from as wide a range of sources as possible—and not just donor funding. If we rely on just one or two donors for our main income, it makes us very vulnerable as donors can (and do) pull out at any time. We need the safety net of other income to be financially secure.


  1. Do you have any reliable sources of unrestricted funds

Linked to diversification, it is important to have some income that is unrestricted—that means there are ‘no strings attached’, the money can be used to achieve any of your objectives. Donor funds tend to be restricted to specific projects or activities, giving us little flexibility in how the money is used.

The more unrestricted funds we have, the more freedom of action we have. We can work on projects that meet community priorities, and cover the hard-to-fund costs such as central support (overheads) costs.


  1. Do you have enough reserves to see you through the tough times?

Reserves are financial resources that an NGO sets aside to meet unexpected events in the future. They are like our household savings. We need reserves to help us through difficult times, e.g., when a grant is delayed or withdrawn, or we experience unexpected expenses. If we do not have reserves to draw on, the organisation and its programmes could be vulnerable to closure.

Critically, you can only build up reserves from surpluses of unspent (unrestricted) income, so this reinforces the need for unrestricted income sources.


  1. How strong are your key stakeholder relationships?

NGOs have many stakeholders who can have an influence on or be affected by the organisation, such as the communities we work with, donors, staff and volunteers, the government and the media.

The more that we can build up and manage a positive relationship with stakeholders, especially those in the local communities, the stronger a position we will be in. You will be able to access financial and other support from a wider variety of sources (so achieve diversification) and they are more likely to support your work in the longer term, or during a crisis.


Want to learn how to strengthen your organisation’s financial future?


Join us on our Planning for Financial Sustainability courses, online or in-person, to discover practical tools and know-how to achieve financial sustainability. You will discover:

  • How to assess your financial sustainability and risk status
  • How to diversify income and become less dependent on donor income
  • How to finance central support costs
  • How to build financial reserves
  • How to strengthen stakeholder relationships
  • How to build your own financing strategy
“I am PMD Pro Certified – what´s next?”

“I am PMD Pro Certified – what´s next?”

PMD Pro, Project Management


PM4NGOs is here to help you to develop your skills and experience as a project or program manager. You’ve worked hard to get your Certificate, but what comes next?

We are considering starting professional development program for all PMD Pro and PgMD Pro professionals. It will be called PMD+ and will aim to support you in developing your career, to become better at what you do and gain greater satisfaction from your job.

PMD+ will be managed through a new website. You will be invited to register. We will provide a menu of project and program related activities, some formal, such as webinars and mentoring, some informal, such as posting a report on our forum of a recent project you have worked on. You will log your activities on the website, reflecting on how these activities have helped develop your project or program capabilities. You will earn a badge when you have completed the required amount of professional development for the year.

We will also provide a list of competencies that are needed by project and program managers. You can rate yourself against these competencies to decide the areas you would like to develop over the next year and create a development plan, discussing it with your line manager or a mentor.

Before we start PMD+ we need your help! What do you think of this idea? Do you think it will work? What sort of activities should we offer? Please complete the short survey at 

Thanks for your help. We will let you know what happens.

Peter Marlow, Board Member

Continue reading ““I am PMD Pro Certified – what´s next?””

Honing Interpersonal Skills for Successful Project Delivery

Honing Interpersonal Skills for Successful Project Delivery

Program Management, Project Management

This article was originally published on the website of the APMG by Emma Jones.

A complete overview of the essential interpersonal skills that lead to project success.

We each develop our own interpersonal skill-set as a result of our experiences, environment, and interactions with others. We are shaped by both nature and nurture. As Project Managers, we need to understand how we relate to, and interact with, other people in order to engender trust and respect to get the job done.

A Project, Programme and Portfolio (P3) Manager needs to lead and motivate their management team and delivery teams. This will be through visionary leadership, ensuring people are committed to the objectives of the work, and managerial leadership, delegating work and developing teamwork.

The P3 manager must also lead the stakeholder community, who do not collectively form a team and to whom delegation is rarely appropriate. When dealing with stakeholders, influencing and negotiation are more relevant.

Whether delegating work to a team or influencing stakeholders, conflict will inevitably arise in some form. The P3 Manager will need to have conflict management skills no matter how well honed their other interpersonal skills may be.

Naturally, at the heart of all human interactions is communication.

The fundamental principles of interpersonal skills do not vary across the range of projects, programmes and portfolios. However, the context and organisational structures do change and this leads to different challenges and different emphases in their application.

Here are some must-have skills and tips that will make your team love and respect you. Continue reading “Honing Interpersonal Skills for Successful Project Delivery”