Project management is all about planning, executing, and delivering the best possible services to your clients. Any and every project is important when it comes to successful completion where the satisfaction of beneficiaries and stakeholders matters the most. Project cycle management is one such approach where the satisfaction of stakeholders is prioritized.
It is also well-established that a project goes through a series of steps to reach the final stage. So, no matter what kind of project you are entitled to, having a comprehensive knowledge of the project management life cycle, project phases, and management groups is a must.
Project management phases make your project more organized and well-executed right from the beginning. The basic goal of all the management and planning is to make the workload more bearable and easygoing. The project is divided into small steps so that the tasks are equally distributed among managers and their respective teams. Hence, the project stays streamlined and financially controlled, and timely delivery is made possible.
Project management approaches are varied. Different approaches are used by project managers and their teams for each project. These project management approaches are chosen following the stakeholders’ requirements and preferences.
What Is Project Cycle Management?
Project cycle management is a methodology for managing and improving the quality of assigned projects. The process helps structure the entire project while involving the stakeholders in every detail. This ultimately helps in optimizing performance and the final delivery.
PCM is a project management approach designed based on years of development. The basic idea of this management approach is to organize the project from inception to planning to execution and, finally, evaluation.
To simplify it, PCM is about addressing any project’s complexities through all phases or steps. Moreover, while addressing the complexities, the goal is to stay aligned with the strategies and objectives set by the beneficiaries.
With this project management approach, the project managers and their teams can work head-on on respective projects. The well-formation and structuring of the project tasks with different steps will work wonders in meeting the deadline. Last but not least, the end delivery is also at par with the stakeholder’s expectations because of their involvement.
Phases Of the Project Cycle Management:
Programming is basically the ‘negotiation’ phase in which the goals are clarified. In this initial phase, problems, constraints, and opportunities are also identified and weighed. All these preliminary details allow the project cycle manager to choose suitable project ideas and estimate the time and budget required to complete the project.
Programming also helps to identify the main goal or objective of the project. It also helps to evaluate the priorities and feasible framework to carry out the project efficiently.
The programming phase allows the project managers and teams to set developmental priorities. With all the clarity, the project cycle manager can now develop a strategic plan and program to carry out the assigned task effectively and efficiently.
In the next phase of PCM, the ‘relevance’ of the identification phase is analyzed. Problems, needs, and ideas identified in the programming phase are revisited here to make sure that the project ideas are feasible and beneficial in every aspect.
Moreover, in the identification phase, stakeholders and other specialists are consulted to analyze the problems, address the issues and resolve the problem. All these steps lead to the project identification report.
The project identification report proposes which project is relevant to pursue and explains the rationale behind the recommendation with all the details and calculations. After all the discussion, the proposal is either accepted or denied or modified to allow financing, etc.
All the research is conducted at this phase to ensure that the proposal is well studied and thoroughly researched before it is approved. In this phase, the structural procedure of the project is also formulated.
The formulation phase is more like the ‘financing’ phase of this project management approach. During this phase, a quality assessment of the financing proposal is also undertaken. If it needs some changes, recommendations are made. After recommendations and changes in the financing proposal, relevant authorities accept or reject it.
If the financing proposal is accepted, the next step is the preparation, negotiation, and signing of the final agreement between the client and the implementing authorities.
The formulation or financing phase determines if the project is financially feasible or not. It also looks into the project’s potential benefits along with administrative and technical provisions.
Following the financing phase, the next phase is the implementation. This phase can be the lengthiest, sometimes extending to years, depending on the nature of the project.
The implementation phase is further divided into three steps, inception or the start-up period, main implementation, and closure period.
The implementation phase involves planning and re-planning, budgeting, and re-budgeting to update and refine the entire project. This phase also includes monitoring and reporting to ensure that the project is not derailed over time. Reports are generated to track the progress report while keeping the stakeholders abreast with all the development.
Suppose the proposed result is achieved and the resources are well maintained in accordance with the proposal. In that case, an annual operating plan is submitted, determining if the financing is to be continued or if the changes are preferred.
5. Evaluation and Audit:
The last step is the ‘assessment’ phase, where the project is analyzed systematically to see if the set objectives are reached. The evaluation phase can be started as early as the implementation phase is set in motion to keep everything scrutinized from the very beginning. It can also be analyzed at the end of the project.
Evaluation and audit can also be done yearly to analyze and assess the impact over time. However, evaluation should focus on these five criteria: impact, relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability.
The evaluation looks into the details and how the project went. Did it achieve the objectives? What were the hurdles? What could have been done better? What were the loopholes? And if the objectives have been met or not. Lessons learned after evaluation are then applied to the remaining project or new projects already in the pipeline.
Benefits Of Implementing Project Cycle Management (PCM):
1. Improved Productivity
By improved productivity, we mean that the process makes the project organized and structured in every possible way. This, in turn, helps the managers and teams to improve quality while ensuring every other aspect is under control, be it the budget or time.
Furthermore, efficiency and productivity improve when the process is decentralized into smaller and easier steps. The teams become more proficient and confident in carrying out the task and completing it with excellence.
2. Participation Of The Clients and Meeting Expectations
One of the most beneficial aspects of this project management approach is the involvement of beneficiaries and stakeholders. Team leaders get to communicate with the clients at every step so that their expectations are well-understood.
Involving the stakeholders allows the leaders and team members to work following the requirements, and hence the expectations are met.
3. Standardized Approach with Standardized Tools
PCM is a standardized approach with standardized tools. The entire process is built into smaller steps, making it simpler and easier to work on.
4. Learning From One Project and Applying To Others
This approach allows the project managers and their teams to learn from one project and apply those lessons to future projects for efficient and effective project delivery. By eliminating the risks, professionals can manage projects more confidently.
5. Saving Time And Cost
With a more organized structure, effective communication, and management, resources like time and cost are saved to a greater extent.
6. Clarity In Goals
The clarity in goals is accomplished when the stakeholders are involved, and their satisfaction is mandatory. When your team leads to contact the beneficiaries, they understand what the clients expect from the final delivery. This makes the goals more clear and more defined. Hence, the process becomes more streamlined.
7. Efficient And Effective Resource Management
One of the aims of structured project management is effective and efficient resource management. To make it possible, communication with beneficiaries comes in very handy. You get to state the development of each phase, and only approved by the clients or the stakeholders would mean moving to the next phase.
Moreover, project managers and professionals are clear about the stakeholders’ expectations and know where to invest their time and energy.
8. Simplifying The Project
PCM leads to simplifying the project. The tasks are distributed evenly by breaking the entire project into smaller chunks. This implies that the teams can take on the burden of the workload and deliver their assigned task in time.
Even the complexities of the tasks are resolved when the leaders simplify the project by breaking it down. The entire process becomes smooth and easy to manage.
9. Defining Each Phase for Transparency
Transparency is another key in delivering the project. Each and every step in the management of the project cycle is well-defined. Teams and other members can communicate with each other along the way to overcome any difficulty. Not only this, but transparency also means that the stakeholders and other relevant parties are connected throughout the task. This communication helps meet the stakeholders’ and beneficiaries’ goals and expectations.
Why Should Project Cycle Management Be Used?
One of the most satisfying features of this project management approach is its linear, simplified and progressive nature. With the successful completion of each step, you can move on to the next step and smoothen your journey to the end.
The cycle also keeps the project within the organization’s policy objectives while being relevant to the client’s needs. This approach also looks for the feasibility of the project. Cycle management also calculates the use of the resources and the corresponding advantage.
Project cycle management is an effective and efficient approach to producing successful and beneficial results for the customer and the organization. The system has proven its worth all around the world in various industries. The step-wise approach is not only easy, but it is result-oriented. With in-depth research of the project, proper planning, initiation, implementation, and evaluation, team leads and other members can pull off any project with shining success.
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