- This paper reconsiders the meaning and impact of projects, the most common device for spending development monies. They argue that projects can distort the priorities of the host organisation. There are four aspects to this problem: the disruption caused to an organisation by the existence of a project; the project bidding process, which may not be the best way of maximising learning from the project; the tendency for the main criterion used for judging the artefact produced by the project to be the extent to which it justifies the original commitment of funds; and the possibility that rather than producing a valuable outcome, the project will be used as an opportunity for the project team to escape from traditional managerial lines and daily routines. Project appraisal can be dysfunctional by taking place too quickly or never taking place at all. The paper goes on to suggest what a successful project outcome might be, looking at systems thinking, learning and learning transfer, scale effects, objective setting and risk management.