The European Union promotes the Project Cycle Management (PCM) and the Logical framework analysis model for the projects development. The European project are expected to work in partnership; it means that projects are managed in collaboration with other organizations, which have different functions on the same project. This approach serves to guide organizations in all phases of the project: from the birth of the project idea through to evaluation of the results and it describes how the partners should manage it.
In this section we introduce the main elements of PCM and we briefly describe the various steps that you should follow in carrying out successfully projects able to meet your expectations, and respond effectively to the needs.
According to the PCM, an organization that wants to implement a project has to remember that:
- Projects should be in line with the policy objectives of the EU in your activities field: relevancy
- Projects should respond to the real problems of the beneficiaries and it is better to find suitable partner to the achievement of the objectives: internal coherence
- Project objectives should be feasible, and should realistically be achieved by the instruments provided; project´s benefits to the beneficiaries should last even after the conclusion of the project:sustainability.
The key elements of PCM model
The “life” of a project is identified through points of departure and arrival. As the project goes ahead, it goes through these interrelated phases.
Programming: it is a preliminary step where the situation at national and sector level is analysed to identify problems which the project could address. No project can be developed if we do not know the real problems and needs especially in the social sector; for this reason so it fundamental an analysis of sectoral policies and priorities. At the same time organizations should be informed about all the funding opportunities at local, national and european level to find appropriate funding.
Identification: during this phase the partners seek to identify common challenges and problems to solve in their fields of interest and activities such as social and care services, volunteering, civil protection. The initial project idea has not yet been worked out in detail and the partners meet to discuss and define their project and its actions.
Formulation: This is the phase where the project takes on a definite form and it is going to be more detailed. Partners share the scope and cost of the project, the estimated duration of each task, the scheduling of activities and the role and responsibilities for each partners according to the selected application form and call of proposal.
Implementation: This is the phase where all the activities are conducted such us project meetings, exercises, events. The partners are engaged in the evaluation of the project and at this stage it is very important to report all the progress activities.
Evaluation: The strategic phase of the project. It can assist an organization to ascertain the degree of achievement in regard to their objectives and results of any project. It serves to assess the results and the impacts of the project to have a review of the project and have the chance to change, and evaluate a possible follow-up.
There are two main kind of evaluation:
Midterm evaluations (MTEs) that aims to assess the continued relevance of the project and the progress made towards achieving its planned objectives. This evaluation can be done by the project management beacause it is strictly linked to the project.
Final evaluation that aims at determining the extent to which objectives were achieved and at contributing to future programming in the project fields. This evaluation usually is done by independent evaluators and overseen by evaluation officers.
For social projects this is one of the most important phases it is the phase where we can understand whether the social needs have been met and how you can improve our intervention in the future.
Logical Framework Analisys
The Logical Framework Analysis is a matrix that describes the most important aspects of a project. Is very important to draw the matrix in the planning phase of activities (proposal stage) and the changes during the course of the activities themselves, in the process of implementing the project. It allows you to verify that the activities are well designed and is an useful tool for further monitoring and evaluation. It is particularly suitable for assessing the consistency of a project, it is also a tool that supports the identification of appropriate indicators to monitor and evaluate the effects of a program. In this table, are exposed to all the relevant factors and the components necessary for the realization of the project and its correspondence with the objectives achieved. To manage a successful project you should follow this scheme and it should answer to the fundamental questions that are in the table