The Project Cycle

In its basic form, the Project Cycle counts six phases. However, as some donor agencies, NGOs and consulting firms tend to bring out their own versions, this number of phases and their content may vary.

PCM cycle with six phases


The phases are:

  1. Programming
  2. Identification
  3. Formulation
  4. Implementation
  5. Monitoring
  6. Evaluation

Often, implementation and monitoring are combined in one step. Some donor agencies add an additional step of ‘Financing’ or ‘Approval of the proposal’ between ‘Formulation’ and ‘Implementation’. From the point of view of the NGOs that want to introduce a project, negotiating or lobbying is another step that could be added between programming and identification or between identification and formulation.

The first three steps can be seen as the design phase of the project. This can easily take up to two years before the final approval is given and work (or practical preparations) can begin. The duration of the project itself depends on its activities and the needs of the beneficiaries, but more often than not also on budgetary restraints or the regulatory framework of the donor. That is why consecutive projects (sometimes called actions) are combined into a larger programme. Again, in such a programme it is important to learn from previous actions, but in reality this may not always be the case (or only to a limited extent).


I am wiriting a thesis and using six phases of your PCM model. May I know how to put reference for this model.Thanks.

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