The PCM follows 5 phases as shown below:
1. Programming Phase
Programming is often carried out by the donor. The purpose of programming is to provide a framework for the donor’s development intervention, i.e. which needs, ideas and initiatives to pursue into projects. This involves a periodic identification of problems, constraints and opportunities (needs) that they could address. The purpose is to identify the main objectives and sector priorities e.g health, governance, education for programmes and projects.
2. Identification Phase
This the stage at which the initial project idea is conceived and formulated. Project identification work is linked: i) Backwards to programming, partly overlapping, ii) Backwards to evaluation of previous interventions, and iii) Forward to the formulation phase. Various analyses, including stakeholder, problem, objective, and strategy analysis are carried out. The donor commissions a needs assessments and feasibility studies. From the findings of the needs assessments the donor puts up a request for proposal in line with their finding priority areas. The implementing partners respond to the call for proposal with an identification note e.g an Identification Fiche for EU, or a Concept Note (e.g. for World Bank).
3. Formulation Phase
The formulation stage includes more detailed project design, defining the overall goal, objectives, outputs, activities, inputs, time schedules and budgets. Project beneficiaries will be identified as well as the project strategy and organization structure. Further studies can be carried out e.g. cost-benefit analysis and risk management. Different stakeholders’ participation and involvement is ensured through organized meetings and interviews. A project document which is output of this phase is developed to compile all the existing information and to put it in the required form and to assess whether more and specific information is needed.
4. Implementation phase
Once a project has been planned and financial support has been secured (contract is signed), implementation starts. The purpose of the implementation phase is to deliver the results, achieve the purpose(s) and contribute effectively to the goal of the project. The implementation phase will provide information, experiences and lessons learned (if documented and disseminated well) and facilitate learning for the future. Implementation usually starts with an inception stage period (3-6 months), continues with the implementation towards a smooth phasing-out (completion) period ensuring the institutionalization and sustainability of the project. During the implementation of the project, Implementing partners are responsible for undertaking certain sets of tasks: i) Supervising, monitoring and carrying out regular review, ii) Planning and re-planning, for corrective measures, iii) Reporting to the donor party, iv) Contracting external experts (drafting ToRs, tendering, selecting and hiring), v) Implementing activities directly, and vi) Managing the available resources efficiently.
5. Evaluation and audit
The purpose of evaluation is to make an assessment, as systematic and objective as possible, of an on-going or completed project, its design, implementation and results. The aim is to determine the relevance and fulfillment of objectives, developmental efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Project audit is a standard process with standard criteria carried out in every project or programme. There are two types of audits principally, namely financial and performance audits. The objective of a financial audit is to provide assurance on the legality and regularity of project income and expenditure, whereas performance audits examine and assess the “three E’s” (i.e. Efficiency, Economy and Effectiveness) of project activities.
Monitoring and Evaluation tools for PCM
The management of the PCM phases requires use of tools which aid in the effective planning and implementation of the project.