Keys to Evaluating Success of a Project: Lesson Learned from Global Health Partnership

The key to evaluating the success of a project is to have clear criteria for success and how to measure them. The criteria should be robust, that they are not only about time, cost, and performance, but also how the project is accepted and provides benefits for the stakeholders (Pinto, 2018). The criteria should also be measurable so that the evaluation process can have a clear framework. This is the main issue to be assessed from the Global Health Partnership Program.

The program proposed a multidimensional index to evaluate the success of their grantees’ programs (Stillman & Spires, 2014). Only one of the criteria in the index measures the degree to which the projects achieve their stated goals. One criterion is related to the projects’ plan to evaluate their success and four others are related to the future of the project, such as the question of scalability, additional funding, partnership utilization, and wide dissemination. While these are perhaps not the right criteria for success for each project, these are robust criteria for the Pfizer Foundation that primarily aimed to ensure the success and sustainability of these projects.

The main lesson that I learned from the technical assistance given by Institute for Global Tobacco Control is that the key to evaluating success is to have a clear framework for the evaluation. The framework will require specific knowledge for the evaluation, measurable indicators, feasible data collection methods, and a deep understanding of how evaluation can improve the program’s sustainability. The clear framework will enable a clear project success evaluation, as well as the project’s success itself. The article stated that projects with improved evaluation plans and data collection methods were twice as likely to be in the highest success category (Stillman & Spires, 2014).

I think the article by Stillman & Spires (2014) needs to be more precise, explicit, and straightforward in articulating the lesson learned. Perhaps, adding a conclusion statement, after the percentage of project success, will be better in articulating the main arguments.

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The Impact of Subjectivity on the Quality of the index of The Global Health partnership program

Pinto (2018) asserted that an expert’s opinion on an issue may be subjective but can also be very accurate, and an incorrectly calibrated surveyor’s level can give objective but wrong quantitative data. So, neither of these two input alternatives is necessarily right, wrong, or better than the other. Instead, both should be used together as a complement to each other.

The pros of using an expert’s opinion are that it is usually relatively easy, simple, and less expensive. Experts typically have more knowledge about the issue in their field. In the case of the Global Health Partnership program, the program managers and mentors are arguably the people who have the most understanding about their program, so it is worth listening to their input as one of the qualitative data. The main cons are that subjectivity can lead to clear bias. Leaders should not necessarily stop taking experts’ opinions as input, but they should acknowledge this issue of potential bias and provide something to cover for it. For instance, they can take both, qualitative and quantitative data, to ensure that the subjective opinion is aligned with the quantitative data. It is true that subjectivity poses a risk of misjudgment, but the risk can be managed through various means.

I think, the discussion about quantitative and qualitative data in a report should not be treated as a choice of what to pick, but instead, it should always be considered to use both whenever possible. Both kinds of data can complement each other and reveal more insights.

Extension of the Result to All Grantees

When technical assistance, or any program, is considered one of the main factors for a project’s success, it will be logical to try utilizing it in other similar programs. I think, it is logical to extend it to all grantees, since the sample size is small, meaning that there are not many of them. However, if there are a great number of grantees with diverse types of projects, then we may want to be more careful with a bold generalization. We may want to give it a try to projects with similar characteristics first, evaluate the result, and only try to extend it to all grantees when the statistical data supports the argument.


Pinto, J. K. (2019). Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage, Global Edition (5th ed.). Pearson.

Stillman, F. & Spires, M. (2014, February 24). Improving successful project completion: Lessons learned from the global health partnerships program. Health Affairs Blog.

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