Top-down, bottom-up or middle-out? In this fashion the question is posed for choosing the right method of management of a large-scale project. The manner of securing the factors of success, such as the support of the proper authorities, the disposal of the necessary resources and the commitment of end users and beneficiaries, should be stamped with the character and nature of a given project.
The Advantages of Top-down
Being recognized by the hierarchy and with its (built-in) obligation to grant the necessary resources on time, the top-down approach doubtlessly allows projects to be started in a rapid and efficient fashion. The risk of this approach lies in not being able to effectively evaluate the needs of the beneficiaries nor anticipating collateral effects.
The Advantages of Bottom-up
By enlisting the beneficiaries during the conception phase of a project and foreseeing the numerous possible collateral effects from a grassroots perspective, the bottom-up approach guarantees the implementation of effective measures. Some of the risks tied to this method are a lack of efficiency, difficulties with funding and losing sight of the objectives to be attained.
The Distinctive Characteristics of Middle-out
Middle-out is the method that combines top-down with bottom-up while adding a third contributor, a facilitator. Thus the advantages of the overall vision held by the authorities, accompanied by a solid financial base can be managed by the facilitator, who also ensures the evaluation of the needs of the beneficiaries along with the integration and adequate commitment of the grassroots and the beneficiaries concerned. The facilitator makes sure that a proper dialogue is adhered to among the intervening parties so that the targeted objectives are reached without being sidetracked.
The Importance of Efficiency
Carrying out a project in an efficient manner is essential in avoiding inconsequential results and the bogging down of the project, with the ensuing loss of interest of the participating parties.
The Knack of Recognizing Risks on Time
Each project is subject to various risks. Being able to recognize these risks on time requires significant know-how, based on practical experience. Ensuring risk management in a preventive manner is an indispensable element for success.
The Necessity of Communication
Communicating adequately throughout a project, in a timely manner that is tailored to each group of participants, is a sine qua non for any objective professional management.