Planning using the Project Planning Matrix (PPM) - Advantages and Limitations

  • The PPM is simple to understand. It provides a structure for concepts, ensuring that the decision-maker thinks through the fundamental aspects of a project design.
  • The PPM aids in evaluating projects since both initial goals and final results are clearly delineated.
  • By explicitly identifying how the project is to be evaluated, the decision-maker can make realistic estimates of project outcomes and can identify problems, which might be encountered.
  • PPM is part of an overall logical planning sequence that includes a problem identification, analysis of interest groups, objective analysis, analysis of alternatives and finally a plan of operations and monitoring and evaluation sequence.
  • Provides logical link between means and ends.
  • Places activity within broader development environment.
  • Encourages examination of risks.
  • Requires analysis of whether objectives are measurable.
  • It brings together in one place a statement of all the key components of a project.
  • It separates out the various levels in the hierarchy of objectives, helping to ensure that inputs and outputs are not confused with each other or with objectives and that wider ranging objectives are not overlooked.
  • It provides a basis for monitoring and evaluation by identifying indicators of success and means of quantification or assessment.
  • Unfortunately, the PPM is often seen as the panacea for solving all planning problems. It is basically an empty piece of paper that simply contains a sixteen-cell matrix! The quality of the PPM is still dependent upon the quality of work put in by those who use the technique.
  • During the planning process the PPM does not take uncertainty into account. Neither does it allow for consideration of potential alternative actions.
  • A linear causal sequence is assumed which is an unlikely simplification of the relationships among various project components and elements in the environment.
  • Getting consensus on objectives.
  • Reducing objectives to a simple linear chain.
  • Inappropriate level of detail (too much or too little).
  • Oversimplification of objective.
  • Objectives become too rigid (blueprint).
  • Ignoring unintended effects.
  • Hides disagreements, rigid targets.
  • Downgrading of less quantified objectives.
  • Used for top-down control.
  • Can alienate staff.
  • Becomes a fetish rather than a help.
  • Finding measurable indicators for higher-level objectives and ‘social’ projects.
  • Establishing unrealistic targets too early.


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