1. Project Selection

What is Project Selection?

A detailed investigation of a project’s technical, social and economic feasibility is conducted in the Feasibility Study Stage. The Project Selection Stage is a first process to assess each project idea and select the highest priority project(s) for further investigation.
At this Stage, possible projects may only be ideas or suggestions (e.g. individual observation, most serious invasive plant in an inventory, most important site, species with greatest conservation needs), so you may need to write a brief description of each project before continuing with the selection process.
Selection of projects is based on:
  • Benefits:  A measure of the positive outcomes of the project.  These are often described as the reasons why you are undertaking the project.  The benefits of invasive species management projects include:
    • Biodiversity,
    • Economic,
    • Social and cultural,
    • Fulfilling commitments made as part of national, regional or international plans and agreements. 
  • Achievability:  An “educated guess” measure of the likelihood of the project being a success, i.e. achieving its objectives.  Projects vary greatly in complexity, risk and cost.  By evaluating likelihood of success when selecting projects it means the most-likely-to-succeed projects with the greatest benefits are given priority.  

Why Do Project Selection?

Often you will have a number of project ideas but not enough resources, money or time to undertake all of the projects.  The ideas for invasive species management projects may have come from many sources including: the community, funders, local and national governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).  You will therefore need a way of deciding on the priority order of projects.
If your organisation has limited experience in conducting invasive species management projects then it is recommended to concentrate on a small number of projects, ideally one project at a time, until the people in your organisation have developed the skills and experience.  Start small, grow capacity and build up to undertaking multiple projects at any one time. Do the straightforward projects first.  Work towards the most difficult and rewarding projects. Use the easiest projects to help answer questions/solve issues for the more difficult projects. These are the best opportunities to learn.
You may have a mix of straightforward and difficult projects and do not know where to start.  The Project Selection Stage will assist you by providing a process to compare the importance of the projects and select the most suitable project to undertake. 
By following the Project Selection Stage you will use a step-by-step objective method for prioritising projects – this can be used to explain to stakeholders the reasoning behind why you selected a particular project.
The advantages of completing the Project Selection Stage are:
  • a transparent and documented record of why a particular project was selected is produced
  • a priority order for projects, that takes into account their importance and the benefits and achievability of the project, is established.  

When to Do?

Undertake a Project Selection exercise when you:
  • have more ideas than the number of projects you can undertake and need to select the project(s) that should be given priority. 
Note: If you only have one project, it may still be useful to score it against a set of criteria to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the project. The results may be useful later in the Feasibility Study Stage.

Who Should Be Involved?

Agency Management:
  • Set selection criteria to ensure the selection process aligns with agency strategies.
  • Selection processes are often run as a management initiative before the implementing Project Manager is appointed. 
  • Stakeholder participation from the start of a project creates strong community ownership and support, and increases the chances of a successful outcome. 
  • Stakeholder input should be included at the ideas stage; consult widely as you are developing the ideas for projects as the community will be the source of many of the best project ideas. 
  • Stakeholders must be informed of the outcome of the Project Selection Stage.  
Project Manager:
  • Involving the Project Manager in the Project Selection process will help build ownership in the project and support a successful project in the long run.