Objective: Facilitate the process of project prioritisation.
During CDS formulation, the planning team will be faced with a long list of project options, and they will have to prioritise them, in an objective and transparent way. This will require working with a multi-criteria decision making process to choose.
- When the programmes and projects are formulated, and there is a long list of projects, which cannot be implemented entirely.
- When building a participative process for prioritisation of projects, by involving stakeholders from the sectoral/thematic groups.
Members of the planning team, supported by members of municipal departments, the mayor and city council representatives, as well as thematic stakeholders’ working groups
- Municipal departments – responsible for project implementation
- Project beneficiaries – community residents, other stakeholders’ groups, etc.
The GAM tool operates a scoring calculation on a long list of projects (usually in an Excel sheet, if available), based on a set of objective criteria. For this reason, a prioritization team (i.e. the planning team, supported by thematic working groups) will go through the following steps:
Step 1: Determine criteria relevant to the strategy
The most important point is the criteria chosen for assessment. The prioritization team will discuss and select the criteria relevant for the strategy, criteria which help achieving the strategic objectives already formulated. These could include:
- Focus on the objective
- Technical feasibility of the project
- Financial feasibility (resource availability)
- Commitment from key decision makers
- Co-ordination with other projects
Step 2: Select weights and scoring indicators
Criteria can either be all given the same importance, or weight, or they can be differentially weighted. For example, if the overall strategy is aiming to improve living conditions for the poor, then a criterion which indicates strong targeting of the poor should get a higher weight than a criterion related to visual appearance.
The prioritization team will fill in the table 1 (see worksheet) below. On the top are the criteria. Below, the characteristics of each criterion to be measured are described, in three levels. See the example in table 2 (see worksheet).
Step 3: Fill in the GAM
Using the results of step 2, the prioritization team will fill in the GAM in table 3 (see worksheet).
Step 4: Conclude the assessment
The prioritisation team will discuss the results, applying common sense. Do the results seem to make sense? If not, why not? Perhaps some of the criteria or weightings do not make sense. Based on these discussions they can try to adjust weightings and see what happens. If commonly decided, weightings could be changed. But in general terms, results need to be combined with additional prioritization tools.
- GAM is a highly visible, transparent tool to select priority projects, allowing a broad participation of stakeholders in thematic groups.
- As the criteria used to choose projects is decided in a transparent manner by the people involved, there is no feeling on the part of stakeholders that projects were chosen indiscriminately.
- It is time consuming and needs technical expertise (to use Excel sheets) in order to integrate the prioritization results from various persons, and various working groups.
- It still provides room for subjective bias, as the final score could sometimes lead to decisions which are not supported by the community (or by the decision makers). Criteria might need readjustment, or additional prioritization tools should be used as well.