The Sustainable Development Facility has been charged with managing training for The George Boole Foundation units including OQSI and SEEL
The OQSI Manual for current recommendations covering due diligence and analytical procedures for sustainable economic development project design, management and evaluation will be updated each year. This is because with the climatic impacts on sustainability and carrying capacity require a constant refinement of procedural techniques to maintain practical benefits. Although established as an "Open" quality standards initiative this work has involved an intensive systems group work taking some time to identify and consolidate all procedures across all relevant strands of work required, involving stakeholders, in project design and management. A lecture series to bring practitioners, donors and project teams up to speed on the latest OQSI recommendations will be organized in September 2021.
1st sector presentations on OQSI Project Cycle Recommendations 2021
Project failure rates: reported in: World Bank Portfolio Review, 1992; IEG WB, The use of CBA 2010; DAI 2005;
Current failings in the Sustainable Development Goal project portfolio: The main evolving gaps in the Agenda 2030 project portfolio were identified in the 2019 Sustainable Development Report as an inverse relationship in the performance of the current Agenda 2030 project portfolio between "economic growth" and the reduction in income inequality, improving sustainability and educing the rate of climate change.
In an increasingly dynamic project operational environment, design and management procedures need to be regularly updated. Evaluation procedures need to be adjusted to accommodate emerging critical conditions facing projects to improve management's ability to lower risks and ensure sustainability.
The "OQSI Recommendations 2021" is the first edition of the OQSI recommended procedures for project design and management.
This is the result of a decade long review (2010-2020) of gaps in conventional projects cycle management guidelines and evaluation methods motivated by the high failure rates in sustainable economic development projects.
This document describes a proposed due diligence design, analytical procedures and a structured evaluation approach to improve the performance of project teams working on Sustainable Development Goals.
It will be published in August 2021 by Hambrook Publishing Company.
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Title: OQSI Recommendations 2021;
Authorship: Open Quality Standards Initiative & Systems Engineering Economics Lab team;
Published: Hambrook Publishing Company;
Expected date of publication: August, 2021.
Delivery: Via email attachment
This publication will be an annual in order to record and keep up to date the evolution in and additions to recommendations responding to the dynamics of climate change, sustainability circumstances and emerging issues.
During the period 2010-2020 The George Boole Foundation’s Decision Analysis Initiative undertook an enquiry into why the failure rate of international economic development projects was around 35% and agricultural projects was around 45% .
The Open Quality Standards Initiative (OQSI) was charged with the task of managing a review of practical effectiveness of the existing project cycle management procedures in the context of the whole project cycle and addressing Sustainable Development Goals. It was also required to identify and propose practical analytical procedures to reduce project failures. The Systems Engineering Economics Lab (SEEL) supported the OQSI by completing proof of concept, prototyping, testing and implementation of all OQSI recommendations to create an operational demonstration testbed. What has the OQSI achieved?
The OQSI has not set its work apart from existing standards systems or recommendations from other organizations. This is because it needed to review existing practice to identify those gaps which have contributed to project failures in terms of poor outcomes, poor returns or even cancellations. OQSI has therefore retained what is considered to have utility while it has extended other procedures significantly. It is therefore possible to see other systems as part of the "infrastructure" of the OQSI set. The ISO, BSI process approach remains evident. Formal Decision Analysis remains a central operating principle applying determinant analysis, probabilities and information quality as an underlying imperative of Boolean deductive procedures applied to evidence. This has become important in the context of uncertainty associated with climate change and environmental/ecosystem impact analysis. General sustainability criteria have benefited
"Some project cycle management guidelines have not changed for over 50 years in spite of an unacceptable level of project failures..."
"Climate change and a declining planetary carrying capacity demand a major effort to make all procedures and analyses more relevant and responsive to changing conditions..."
DIA Phase 1 Report, 2015
significantly through the specification of analytical tools for practitioners to carry out essential calculations.
The areas where most change has occurred through practical and transparent extensions is the field of project evaluation. The alternative recommendations of OECD DAC evaluation criteria have been subjected to changes in the name of transparency and practical utility.OECD DAC evaluation criteria
The OQSI extended the OECD DAC criteria to handle sustainability and risk analysis more effectively. OECD DAC, to date, have provided no guidance on the application of evaluation criteria to different types of activity performance associated with different stages in the project cycle. This is left to the judgement of evaluators. The OQSI 2010-2015 review of projects points to the result of this lack of orientation as a cause of a variable quality and utility of evaluations based on OECD DAC criteria resulting from the subjectivity and experience and motivations of individual evaluators. As a result lessons learned are of variable quality and relevance.
The OQSI established a specific profile for types of evaluation required in each project cycle phase and have recommended specific analytical procedures to record, in real time, performance associated with these events or processes. All of this is held in a Project Memory (immutable Accumulog database). To support this more structured approach, the OQSI has provided a clear orientation for performance assessment by project phase and activity. Although considerably more structured and detailed than any existing system it has been found to be easy to apply and manage providing external evaluators with a fully transparent profile of all of the different elements of a project's performance. Many "lessons learned" are not learned because many evaluation reports are sometimes completed when a project team has moved on to other activities and responsibilities. More commonly evaluation reports end up in archives gathering dust and forgotten about.Lessons learned and AI
In the OQSI recommended systems a Project Memory is used to drive analytical tools (AI) that can provide contextual alerts for the designers of new projects on areas requiring specific attention based on an internal risk profiling based on assembled performance records.
Accompanying the state-of-the-art technologies
"The management of projects must remain at community and project team level, top down directives risk poor project performance ...
This requires a major investment in human capital through training and placing the appropriate tools into the hands of those designing and managing projects..."
DIA Phase 1 Report, 2015
The OQSI benefited from SEEL's more than 38 years applied experience in global network applications technologies and 35 years as a leading applied development centre in decision analysis. The OQSI recommendations are therefore leading edge in terms of adaptation to modern information technological capabilities and this includes a realistic position of the existing capabilities of practitioners in low income countries.The devolution of decision making power
The general philosophy emanating from the Foundation is that of concentrating on raising the levels of competence of team members and stakeholders and therefore much of the analysis and work on evaluation is "internal" carried out by team members. This part of making project design and management a permanent learning exercise to intensify analytical and decision analysis experience. As a result external evaluators gain the benefit of fully involved and well-informed team members and data records. Most of the evaluations are real time rather than events that happen too late to provide anything useful to ongoing project decision-making.
OQSI recommendations are not theoretical concepts but represent practical, accessible and actionable procedures for project teams in low income countries to improve design and management. With the launch of Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 the OQSI focused attention on solutions for the evolving gaps in the current international SDG project portfolio including failures to address inequality, sustainability and climate change. The lecture series
The SDF is sponsoring a lecture series on the OQSI Project Cycle Recommendations 2021 to be held in September 2021. The hope is that this will become an annual event to introduce the latest advances in state-of-the-art which needs to respond to changing conditions.
The actual date is yet to be decided according to expressed participant interests and availabilities.
The SDF is currently assessing the level of potential interest in this series. Anyone interested in attending should send the dates in September 2021 when they are available, so that the SDF can liaise to find convenient dates for specific groups.
The complete annual,
"OQSI Recommendations 2021"
will be published in August 2021 by Hambrook Publishing Company and will be obtainable from the Boolean Library.
Advance orders receive a discount and the cover price will contribute to the Sustainable Development Facility in support of our non-profit development work.
In the spirit of SDF support for low income country practitioners, the organizers will secure free attendance for practitioners working in low income countries. A single fee payment by a sponsor will include free attendance for up to three donor clients or where no one is identified this creates free tickets which can be accessed on a first come first served basis. This has the advantage of encouraging feedback, questions and clarifications from people who occupy a broader representation of interests.
The basic fee is £200 per attendee. The fee payer should inform the SDF of the names and coordinates of the attendees they are supporting so that the SDF can ensure they are included in the workshop access security. On the other hand, fee payments can be made without naming other attendees so as to generate “free tickets” which can be issued against request.
Mode of delivery
Microsoft Teams and Zoom (on different dates)
The current provisional topic coverage is given below but the intensity of developments at OQSI could result in changes or additions to these topics:
- The evolution of the international economic development project environment 1960-2021
- Why “sustainable” projects fail
- A strategy to reduce project failures
- The OQSI due diligence design procedure (3DP)
- Analytical procedures required for:
- Project design
- Project setup
- Project operations
- Decision making under changing conditions
- Keeping projects on a sustainable long-term course
- OQSI evaluation criteria
- Critical issues will be treated in more depth including:
- Financial appraisals
- Income disparity
- Climate change
- Carrying capacity