Social Project Design


Project Cycle Management (PCM)

Project cycle management (PCM) refers to the process of planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating a project from its conception to its completion. It involves a series of interconnected steps that enable project managers to oversee a project’s progress and ensure that it meets its objectives within the allocated time frame and budget.

Why PCM?


Unclear strategic framework
Supply driven projects
Poor analysis of the situation
Activity-orientated planning
Non-verifiable results
Short-term vision
Lessons learned not considered
Imprecise project documents

Sectoral/programme linkage
Demand-driven approach
Improved analysis
Objective orientated planning
Verifiable results
Focus on sustainability
Learning from evaluation
Standardised formats

Project stages

1. Programming stage

The programming stage aims to pinpoint the project’s primary and top goals to build a pertinent and workable framework. Conversations occur during the programming phase, resulting in an agreed-upon procedure recorded in an indicative program.

The main question within the phase:

What are the partners’ development priorities, and what is the aid aimed at?

2. Identification stage

For each individual project, identification is the starting point, and in the context of the relevant national strategy and sectoral operational program.

The objective should ensure that the project is in accordance with local/regional needs, as well as European and national priorities
• Review of socio-economic indicators
• Review of partners countries and donor priorities
• Agreement on sectoral and thematic focus for cooperation through an agreed strategy formulation

During this phase, the following is implemented:

• Assessment of needs (by the organization and by the user) as well as a detailed analysis of project activities, goals, and expected results;

• Ideas for projects/formulations of project interventions are identified (consultation with users and analysis of participants, analysis of problems faced by users, and identification of the possibility of solving problems);

• Assessment of the institutional capacities of all parties (which will be involved in the implementation of the project);

• Development of the logical framework and concept of the project;

• Specific measures/projects for which (co)financing is requested are identified;

• The evaluation of project proposals is based on pre-feasibility studies that identify problems, evaluate alternative solutions, and facilitate the selection of an appropriate alternative based on quality.

The main question within the phase:

Is the project concept relevant to priority local needs and consistent with donor policy priorities?

3. Formulation stage

The goal should be to ensure that the project is in accordance with local/regional needs, as well as European and national priorities, detailed project and tender documents are being prepared and donors evaluate the submitted documentation, which includes the project’s operational proposal and funding request. In the case of a positive decision, a financial agreement is signed. 

The main question within the phase:

Is the project feasible and will it provide sustainable benefits

4. Implementation phase

This stage focuses on the implementation of project activities with detailed planning, noting that the agreed financial resources will be used in the agreed manner. It includes regular monitoring of the project and conducting a comparative internal evaluation of the progress achieved
The main question within the phase:

Have the planned benefits been achieved, will they continue, and what has been learned from previous experience?

5. Evaluation phase

The final phase of the project cycle
The evaluation aims to ensure that lessons learned and experiences are included in the decision-making process in the new programming phase when selecting new projects. It sets the base for a new cycle or round of programming. 

The main question within the phase:

Are applicable laws and regulations respected? Has the efficiency criteria been met?