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Project Identification and Screening

In many segments that rely on a culture of project management, the project officially begins with the official approval of the project, which is not so in the development sector, where the project life more commonly begins with a Project Identification and Screening Phase.

The seed of a project arises merely as an idea – a need or opportunity that is weighed, scrutinized, and eventually developed into a project which is managed through the project life cycle.

Life cycle of a project - 4 stages

The most critical question one has to ask would be ‘Are we doing the right project?’ Because a problem well understood is half done.

Let us Cruise Through the Ideas in Project Identification and Screening

Search for New Ideas

  • What are the objectives?

*Brainstorm to generate alternative solutions.

-Emerging market trends.

SWOT analysis.

-Other constraints

*Shortlist candidate ideas for detailed scrutiny.


  • Projects are a means to accomplish

-Individual or family objectives

-Organizational objectives

-National or global objectives

  • Project Identification begins in response  to the specific need or the objectives 


  1. To increase profits
  2. To minimize threats of losses
  3. To become more competitive
  4. To provide help after a disaster
  5. To train people in a new area
  6. To reduce pollution in Delhi
  7. To become a successful entrepreneur

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Swot Analysis

A tool that detects the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organization. In particular, SWOT is a basic, straightforward model that measures what an organization can and cannot do as well as its probable opportunities and threats.

The method of SWOT analysis is to take the information from an environmental analysis and distinguish it into internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external issues (opportunities and threats).

Swot analysis for small business

Once this is over, SWOT analysis determines what may assist the firm in accomplishing its objectives, and what obstacles must be overcome or minimized to achieve desired results.

• Objectives

• Experience


• Environment pressures

-Keeping these factors in mind an analysis of strengths, weaknesses , opportunities and threats is made to identify and select suitable projects.


• Experience and expertise

• Financial position

• Capital raising capability

• Industrial contacts

• Foreign collaborations 


• Newer unfamiliar technologies

• Inability to raise huge investments

• Lack of experience

• Lack of trained personnel

• Inability to forecast market trends 


• Emerging technologies

New products with new markets

• New processes with better features

• Special financing schemes

• Government and other incentives 


• Competitors

• Poor state of the economy

• Outdated technology

• Unprofessional management skills

• New products and services 


• A good means to generate new project ideas

• Focus on uninhibited participation by a group

• Listing of ideas without suppressing creativity at source

• List of ideas subjected to screening and evaluation subsequently 

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Poor  Fair  Good  Vgood  Excellent

(1)     (2)      (3)      (4)      (5)    Weight

•Cost              *                                       20%

•Risk                          *                           30%

•Return                                 *                 40%

•Hazard          *                                        10%

•(score = 2×0.2+3×0.3+4×0.4+2×0.1= 3.1) 


• Investment

• Rate of return

• Risk

• Likely profit

• Payback

• Similarity to existing business

• Expected life

• Flexibility

• Environment impact

• Competition

Let us look at the following example – Reducing Vehicular Pollution in Delhi

Ideas Generated in Brain Storming

  1. Restrict registration of new vehicles
  2. Enforce strict emission regulations for vehicles
  3. Ban diesel run vehicles on road
  4. Introduce MRTS – Mass Rapid Transport System for the city
  5. Encourage use of car pools
  6. Grow more trees/ green belts in the city
  7. Declaring no traffic zones in the city
  8. Ban vehicles with an age of ten or more years from plying on the roads

These and more ideas could be generated through a Brainstorming exercise 

Screening of Ideas

 • Criteria chosen for screening:

-Effectiveness to achieve objective

-Cost of the proposal

-Ease of implementation

-Time needed 

This is an illustrative list. Other criteria could be added, if needed.

project evaluation stage
effectiveness of project management
effectiveness of project management
project screening


• Project identification is generally done by brainstorming

• Broad objectives guide the brainstorming

• Introspection is necessary to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the system

• Looking outside towards the environment provides new opportunities and threats

• Evaluation of ideas is suspended during brainstorming to encourage creativity

• A subsequent screening on relevant criteria produces a candidate set of projects for detailed scrutiny

• An exercise to illustrate the procedure was undertaken