It is becoming more obvious that projects which simply “deliver service” to communities are not effective. Much more efficient and effective are projects which result from community needs, where the community takes part in project preparation, design, implementation and evaluation. This process contributes to development of a community’s capacity to solve its problems more independently in the future. Outside experts and participants play role of a “consultant” rather than a “leader”. During this session, participants will draw on their experiences from doing projects to identify the common characteristics of both successful and unsuccessful projects are.


1. To identify the essential characteristics of successful projects and to examine the role of the project designers and implementors as well as roles of community members.
2. To discuss the potential obstacles to project success and begin to focus on ways of avoiding them.


1. Read the attached articles “The Alchemy of Success” and “ The Alchemy of Success – Analysis”.
2. Prepare flipchart with two questions:
• a) What is a Successful Project? or What makes a Project Successful?
• b) What Kinds of Obstacles are there to Successful Projects?


“The Alchemy of Success”
“ The Alchemy of Success – Analysis”


1. Explain to the participants that this session will help to set the stage for the rest of the workshop in that it will focus on the common characteristics that successful projects seem to share and on the obstacles that can lower the success. The participants will share their understanding and experience.
2. Divide the participants into two groups and ask the groups to answer following questions on the flipcharts:
• a)What makes a Project Successful?
• b) What Kinds of Obstacles are there to Successful Projects?
It is suggested that a trainer be assigned to each group in order to facilitate the process.
3. After finishing the group work, ask the speaker of each group to share the groups answers with all participants prior to facilitating discussion on essential/critical components of successful projects and the most important obstacles/problems of the project process.


Ensure that the lists include the following items of the successful project:

• involvement of the community and all beneficiaries in all phases of the project planning, implementation and evaluation
• problem identification based on serious needs analysis (analysis must include opinions of state and municipal representatives as well as opinions of non-governmental organizations and of the public)
• realistic and do-able project goals
• realistic and concrete project objectives
• clearly defined project tasks and responsibilities of all people involved
• well designed time frame and budget, so that the objectives are met within the time and resource limits
• partial, concrete and tangible results achieved during implementation of the project
• effective monitoring system that measures the project’s progress identifies problems and provides a mechanism for necessary changes in the project
• evaluation of each phase of the project and of the entire project after it is finished, based on indicators set beforehand
• logical and effective structure of project design and management
• qualified personal project management
• a mechanism for training community members in effective maintenance of the project

2. Close the session by pointing out that the characteristics of a successful project identified by participants are essential to all projects (small and large, funded or non-funded).
3. Point out that understanding what makes projects successful can significantly affect how you go about working on them. Link to the next session on problem identification as the first step in the development of new projects.

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