written by Matt Andrews
There are many views on what constitutes success and failure in public policy implementation. I have been chewing on these a lot over the last couple of years as I try to make sense of the challenges of implementation and of knowing when implementation is going well or not.
Here are some approaches I find useful in this work.
First, a large literature on project success is relevant in this discussion—because many public policies are implemented through project-like processes (with some studies even referring to the ‘projectization‘ of various policy domains, especially in international development). The project management literature tends to emphasize different types of ‘success’ in the implementation process (if you want to read more detail, I advise this article on the topic by Paul Bannerman):
(i) Process or project management success: the immediate performance of a project against its main design parameters—schedule (time), budget (cost), scope, and quality.
(ii) Product success: the extent to which a project delivered promised ‘products’, and if those products were used and considered useful by intended users (or beneficiaries).
(iii) Business or Strategy (or impact) success: whether a project solved the particular problem that warranted it in the first place, and—even more expansively—if the project better positions the community affected to address future problems or take future opportunities and benefits.
Another large literature on policy implementation offers related but also different ideas about ‘success’. A key article in this literature (by Bovens, ’t Hart and Peters 2001, which I cite below for those with interest) refers to two key dimensions of success: Continue reading Views of public policy implementation success and failure: Sharing my thoughts