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Approach, methods, tools and techniques of M&E

Several studies refer to the same construct with different terminologies. This could be attributed to the contextual use of the terminologies. For instance, the terms “approach”, “methods", “tools” and “techniques” for M&E have been used

Table 2.3 Differences between M&E




When is it done?

• Continuously -

• Occasionally - before

throughout the life of the

implementation, mid-term, at the


end or beyond the project/ programme period

What is measured?

• Efficiency - use of inputs,

• Effectiveness, longer-term impact

activities, outputs and

and sustainability - achievement


of purpose and goal and unplanned change

Who is involved?

• Staff within the agency

• In most cases, external bodies or

(internal staff)

agencies are engaged in the evaluation

Sources of

• Internal documents,

• Internal and external documents,


e.g. monthly or quarterly

e.g. consultant’s reports, annual

reports, work and travel logs, minutes of meetings

reports and national statistics

Who uses the

• Managers and project/

• Managers, staff, funding agency


programme staff

(e.g. CDC) beneficiaries and other agencies

How are results

• To make minor changes

• To make major changes in policy,


strategy and future work

Source: Stufflcbeam, 2003

differently to mean the same constructs. M&E are regarded as a performance measurement or assessment tool undertaken to ensure the achievement of set standards such as quality, cost or time. It may also seek to measure the impact (functionality) of the construction project on beneficiary communities (impact measurement), thus measuring project performance (Elazouni & Salem, 2011). It is, therefore, necessary for the right M&E approach, method, tools and techniques to be employed to generate the right progress data for comparison with the existing success indicators for decision making on project delivery.

Barasa (2014) argues that the contribution of M&E tools to the success of projects if rightly used is enormous. Since projects are unique and revolving, Otieno (2000) informs that several measurement tools have been developed to measure various indicators over the life of the project. Specific project performance indicators include quality, cost, time/schedule, performance, satisfaction, health and safety. In most cases, different methods, tools and techniques are used in the M&E for the purpose of achieving different objective targets of the project. M&E data may be gathered in multiple ways: firstly, through the traditional M&E where M&E teams visit project sites and manually record project progress information to evaluate progress made on the project. This method, however, could slow down the M&E process causing delay to the entire project as well as compromising on the quality of data collected because of the great variation in the reporting skills as well as the willingness to record data accurately (Sacks, Navon & Goldschmidt, 2003).

According to Kumaraswamy (1991) and Pramod, Phaniraj and Srinivasan (2014), a number of scheduling and progress control techniques have been identified such as bar charts, earned value method/analysis, the critical path method (CPM) and network float, whereas some limitations to provide spatial information on construction projects were noticed (Poku & Arditi, 2006). Al-Jibouri (2003) studied the effectiveness of monitoring systems on project cost control in construction and discussed the utility of the leading parameter technique, variance method and activity-based ratios technique in measuring the extent of the project cost at stages of the project.

Compared to the unit cost technique, the leading parameter technique considers the use of one or more major types of work packages to measure the overall performance of the project. For instance, it can be used as a measure of the cost performance of the entire project in the case of a cost-significant item such as concrete, and reinforcement during construction. A comparison of the cost of the leading parameter work package and the overall project cost is made at the same stage of M&.E to establish the percentage of progress. The activity-based ratio is a project cost-control technique that compares the ratios of incomes and expenditures on project activities to measure the performance of the entire project. Three ratios are identified, namely a planned performance which is measured as a ratio of the expected incomes to the planned expenditures; actual performance which is the ratio of actual incomes to the actual expenditures; and efficiency ratio which measures the ratio of actual performance to planned performance (Al-Jibouri, 2003). Finally, the variance and earned value analysis methods measure project performance by comparing the current and final stages of the actual and planned expenditures of the project. This method assesses the entire project or sections of the project integrating cost and time (Khamidi, Khan &. Idrus, 2011).

In the M&E of project quality, two sets of documents are used to determine the level of quality of the activity or work. They are the specification and the drawings (Harris, McCaffer &. Edum-Fotwe, 2013). Further, Harris et. al. (2013) postulate that the main quality M&.E techniques are through field or site inspections and statistical techniques which are based on the sampling of construction products to ascertain the level of quality against specified requirements. The former is fundamentally subjective and difficult to undertake. The statistical technique collects samples in the form of concrete cubes or masonry blocks which are sent to the laboratory for strength and other property testing.

The data collected with the above performance measurement techniques could be fed into computer systems to produce some meaningful results for management decision to be made. Data collection is automated and produces immediate and more accurate data on project progress for management use. Several computer-aided data-gathering tools and techniques have been studied for viewing and monitoring the progress of construction projects (Elazouni & Salem, 2011). Elazouni and Salem (2011) proposed a pattern recognition (PR) concept and technique based on the technique of critical path method (CPM) to monitor and evaluate the overall progress of the projects. Automating the entire construction process to ensure effective performance M&E necessitated the advent

Overview of project monitoring 23 of computer-aided design (CAD) and the building information modelling (BIM) tools. The CAD and BIM as monitoring and evaluation tools helped generate and maintain construction schedules from architectural drawings for constructability review and project planning (Yadhukrishnan &. Shetty, 2015).

Owing to the limitation of the CPM and bar charts, system integration of a progress monitoring system (PMS) and geographical information system (GIS) was developed to represent both construction progress in the form of a CPM schedule as well as a graphical representation of synchronized construction work schedule (Роки &. Arditi, 2006). Before the work of Роки and Arditi (2006), Yeh and Li (1997) studied the use of GISs and remote sensing techniques and described them as valuable tools in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of urban development projects in the move towards sustainable project development. Integration of GIS and database management system for scheduled monitoring was reported by Cheng and Chen (2002) for precast building construction. Li, Chen, Yong and Kong (2005) described the application of an integrated global positioning system (GPS) and GIS in reducing construction waste.

Also, in monitoring the location of construction equipment to ensure safety and purposeful usage, Sacks, Navon, Brodetskaia and Shapira (2005) reported on the use of a “black box” monitor and an electronic building information model. Also, with the help of a computerized building project model (BPM), integrated with the physical geometry of the building, the monitoring of labour inputs was achieved (Sacks, et al., 2003). Project performance measures were obtained from the comparison of the most reasonable budget and duration values from individual probability distributions for actual progress, with the project’s actual data and cumulative cost while stressing the unavailability of relevant historical data as a major limitation (Elazouni et al., 2011). Similarly, Nassar, Gunnarsson and Hegab (2005) reported on the Weibull analysis used in combination with the earned value method (EVM) to evaluate the scheduled performance of construction projects. The stochastic S-curve also aided in estimating the probable expected cost and duration of projects (Barraza, Back & Mata, 2000). The Project Management Institute (PMI, 2013) also identifies expert judgement; analytical techniques such as the regression analysis, grouping methods, causal analysis and root cause analysis; forecasting methods (e.g. time series, scenario building, simulation), failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA); fault tree analysis (FTA); reserve analysis; trend analysis; earned value management; variance analysis; project monitoring and information systems; and meetings as tools and techniques used in monitoring and evaluating projects.

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