Categorized | Features, General

De Ole Dawg – Part 12: 2017 – DfID, GoM and a programme of catalytic projects

How can we move forward on a programme of “catalytic” projects?

BRADES, Montserrat, May 23, 2017 – To move Montserrat forward, we must effectively identify, develop, fund and implement the set of key “catalytic” projects we need to carry out to move Montserrat forward. This means we must get the project cycle right.

Last time, we looked at lists of projects for Montserrat that would help us move forward on development. One of these lists came from a 2012 consultancy. The other (just below) came from a 2011 discussion document shared with DfID and GoM, based on ideas and concerns then being discussed all across Montserrat. Projects were – and are – required, to address many pressing needs; starting with:

 the Sea Port and wider transportation problem by sea and by air,
 geothermal energy development (and concerns over the EC$ 30 million proposed Diesel power plant)
 the need for a jetty in Foxes (or Isles) Bay to facilitate sand mining (for export) and possible geothermal developments,
 promotion of Villa and other tourism initiatives in the North, and
 fixing the longstanding housing problems

However, five to six years later, but little has happened relative to what we need. (NB: To see a broader picture on some of where we must go now, kindly listen to the new Chief Economist’s May 4th 2017 remarks on Radio Echo, from about 14:40 on.)

Indeed, even when we look at the 2010 Constitution Order, it was on a very slow path for nearly eight years, until the FCO made a big push, and that is a good part of why it went through “warts and all” in 2010. Lesson: beyond a certain point, if we do not move things forward quickly enough and in a satisfactory manner, the UK may be forced to intervene, and push things through to a conclusion. At that point, it may be too late to get the initiatives fine tuned to our preferred Goldilocks “just right” zone.

We therefore need to focus on how we can effectively move the project cycle forward to successful implementation in good time.

A first point is, that when we identify and seek to formulate a project, we should aim for good- value- for- money [see point A in the sketch], not an imaginary “perfect” result that meets the full satisfaction of one and all [point B].

Otherwise, the quest for perfection may easily become an unwitting barrier to getting a good enough but not perfect result now, that can then be refined across time. This means, we should think in terms of phases and should recognise the Pareto Principle: 20% of the possible input often produces 80% of the possible output.

So, if we can set up a phase one project that gives us good but not necessarily “perfect” performance, and does so quickly, maybe we should be going for the “quick-win, low-hanging fruit.”

But if we do that, we must not fall into the trap of going for something of inadequate performance that then locks out room for growth. (It is an encouraging sign that the port development project that is now in hand seems to be a first phase.)

Related, time is not necessarily our friend and our opportunities may be fleeting. So, we have to learn to prepare ahead so we can move with the favourable tide as soon as it begins to flow. Otherwise, we may find ourselves stuck in the mud when a window of opportunity shuts, perhaps without warning.

Likewise, we should think in terms of the development programme as a whole.

It may be wise to give up a bit on project P in order to get a lot more than otherwise from project Q. As, the result of a cut down P [from point B to point A in the sketch] plus enhanced Q [up from point C to point A] may yield better total benefits than we would get from a gold-plated version of project P without any Q or with a marginal version of Q [at point C]. (For instance, think about our sea-port phase 1, air-port upgrade, Twin Otter aircraft, purpose-built Ferry, fibre optic cable, geothermal energy development, hospital upgrade, social and affordable housing, government accommodation, education and schools upgrade, agriculture, new town development and IT-based service industry projects: what is a balanced, good- value- for- money mix? Why?)

That sort of balanced compromise approach should be in our toolbox, especially as we have a cluster of “catalytic” projects – perhaps, much as was just listed – that we need to try to get through in order to spark our economy into self-sustaining growth. Then, too, as P and Q help our economy to grow, one of the onward impacts is that we would have more resources of our own to then move on to the phase 2 improved P and Q that will yield even more benefits. That may even open up a chance to then do project R, which would multiply the long-term benefits.

For implementation, the new Montserrat Programme Management Office (PMO) is working with PRINCE2 and related Axelos standards for programmes and portfolios. These standards come with certification training, which will help us build our capacity and quality assurance. Their governance framework and provision for “tailoring” to circumstances will help us address the governance concerns that have been a challenge to our credibility.

As projects are completed (or, are terminated prematurely) evaluation, audit and lessons learned will provide important information for improving onward waves of projects.

Project cycle management, clearly, will be a key part of our work to move Montserrat forward. END

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How can we move forward on a programme of “catalytic” projects?

BRADES, Montserrat, May 23, 2017 – To move Montserrat forward, we must effectively identify, develop, fund and implement the set of key “catalytic” projects we need to carry out to move Montserrat forward. This means we must get the project cycle right.

Last time, we looked at lists of projects for Montserrat that would help us move forward on development. One of these lists came from a 2012 consultancy. The other (just below) came from a 2011 discussion document shared with DfID and GoM, based on ideas and concerns then being discussed all across Montserrat. Projects were – and are – required, to address many pressing needs; starting with:

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 the Sea Port and wider transportation problem by sea and by air,
 geothermal energy development (and concerns over the EC$ 30 million proposed Diesel power plant)
 the need for a jetty in Foxes (or Isles) Bay to facilitate sand mining (for export) and possible geothermal developments,
 promotion of Villa and other tourism initiatives in the North, and
 fixing the longstanding housing problems

However, five to six years later, but little has happened relative to what we need. (NB: To see a broader picture on some of where we must go now, kindly listen to the new Chief Economist’s May 4th 2017 remarks on Radio Echo, from about 14:40 on.)

Indeed, even when we look at the 2010 Constitution Order, it was on a very slow path for nearly eight years, until the FCO made a big push, and that is a good part of why it went through “warts and all” in 2010. Lesson: beyond a certain point, if we do not move things forward quickly enough and in a satisfactory manner, the UK may be forced to intervene, and push things through to a conclusion. At that point, it may be too late to get the initiatives fine tuned to our preferred Goldilocks “just right” zone.

We therefore need to focus on how we can effectively move the project cycle forward to successful implementation in good time.

A first point is, that when we identify and seek to formulate a project, we should aim for good- value- for- money [see point A in the sketch], not an imaginary “perfect” result that meets the full satisfaction of one and all [point B].

Otherwise, the quest for perfection may easily become an unwitting barrier to getting a good enough but not perfect result now, that can then be refined across time. This means, we should think in terms of phases and should recognise the Pareto Principle: 20% of the possible input often produces 80% of the possible output.

So, if we can set up a phase one project that gives us good but not necessarily “perfect” performance, and does so quickly, maybe we should be going for the “quick-win, low-hanging fruit.”

But if we do that, we must not fall into the trap of going for something of inadequate performance that then locks out room for growth. (It is an encouraging sign that the port development project that is now in hand seems to be a first phase.)

Related, time is not necessarily our friend and our opportunities may be fleeting. So, we have to learn to prepare ahead so we can move with the favourable tide as soon as it begins to flow. Otherwise, we may find ourselves stuck in the mud when a window of opportunity shuts, perhaps without warning.

Likewise, we should think in terms of the development programme as a whole.

It may be wise to give up a bit on project P in order to get a lot more than otherwise from project Q. As, the result of a cut down P [from point B to point A in the sketch] plus enhanced Q [up from point C to point A] may yield better total benefits than we would get from a gold-plated version of project P without any Q or with a marginal version of Q [at point C]. (For instance, think about our sea-port phase 1, air-port upgrade, Twin Otter aircraft, purpose-built Ferry, fibre optic cable, geothermal energy development, hospital upgrade, social and affordable housing, government accommodation, education and schools upgrade, agriculture, new town development and IT-based service industry projects: what is a balanced, good- value- for- money mix? Why?)

That sort of balanced compromise approach should be in our toolbox, especially as we have a cluster of “catalytic” projects – perhaps, much as was just listed – that we need to try to get through in order to spark our economy into self-sustaining growth. Then, too, as P and Q help our economy to grow, one of the onward impacts is that we would have more resources of our own to then move on to the phase 2 improved P and Q that will yield even more benefits. That may even open up a chance to then do project R, which would multiply the long-term benefits.

For implementation, the new Montserrat Programme Management Office (PMO) is working with PRINCE2 and related Axelos standards for programmes and portfolios. These standards come with certification training, which will help us build our capacity and quality assurance. Their governance framework and provision for “tailoring” to circumstances will help us address the governance concerns that have been a challenge to our credibility.

As projects are completed (or, are terminated prematurely) evaluation, audit and lessons learned will provide important information for improving onward waves of projects.

Project cycle management, clearly, will be a key part of our work to move Montserrat forward. END