Thursday, November 22, 2007

Introduction to projects and project cycle

In this post i cover the following aspects.
1. What is a project?
2. What is a project and how it differs from process?
3. What is project cycle and what are its stages?
4. What is organisational Project Management maturity?

for brief answers to the above see the powerpoint show at the following link.

Project Cycle (from World Bank website)

Note: links are not working here and for links you may kindly visit the original page following the link provided at the end of this note. The project cycle diagram is given in the ppt for which link was given above.


Each year the World Bank lends between US$15-$20 billion for projects in the more than 100 countries it works with. Projects range across the economic and social spectrum in these countries from infrastructure, to education, to health, to government financial management. The projects the Bank finances are conceived and supervised according to a well-documented project cycle. Documents produced as part of the project cycle can be valuable sources of information for interested stakeholders wanting to keep abreast of the work the Bank is financing and for businesses wishing to participate in Bank-financed projects. Below is a step-by-step guide to the project cycle, the documents that are produced as part of the process, and how to access them.

How the Process

Begins: Poverty Reduction and Country Assistance Strategies

The Bank recognizes that many past assistance efforts, including some of its own, failed because the agenda was driven by donors rather than by the governments it was trying to assist. Under its current development policy, the Bank helps governments take the lead in preparing and implementing development strategies in the belief that programs that are owned by the country, with widespread stakeholder support, have a greater chance of success.
In low-income countries, the Bank uses the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) approach which involves widespread consultation and consensus building on how to boost development. Under this process, a national poverty reduction strategy is prepared by the country, creating a framework for donors to better co-ordinate and align their programs behind national priorities. The government consults a wide cross-section of local groups and combines this with an extensive analysis of poverty in the country's society and its economic situation. The government determines its own priorities from this process and produces targets for reducing poverty over a three to five year period. These are outlined in a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The Bank and other aid agencies then align their assistance efforts with the country's own strategy - a proven way of improving development effectiveness.

The Bank's blueprint for its work with a country is based on a Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) which, in the case of low income countries, is derived from the priorities contained in the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. The CAS is produced in co-operation with the government and interested stakeholders. The preparation of the CAS may draw on analytical work conducted by the Bank or other parties on a wide range of economic and social sectors, such as health, education, agriculture, public expenditure and budgeting, fiscal management, or procurement, among others.

The Identification Phase

The Bank's Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) forms the blueprint for its assistance to a country. In low-income countries, the CAS is based on the priorities identified in the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (as outlined above). The goals outlined in the CAS guide the priorities of the Bank's lending program and are a useful source of information for interested stakeholders and businesses wishing to identify potential future areas of Bank lending. During the identification phase, Bank teams work with the government to identify projects which can be funded as part of the agreed development objectives. Once a project has been identified, the Bank team creates a Project Concept Note (PCN) which is an internal document of four to five pages that outlines the basic elements of the project, its proposed objective, likely risks, alternative scenarios to conducting the project, and a likely timetable for the project approval process.

Useful public documents

The Project Information Document (PID) is prepared after an internal review of the PCN and is released publicly through the Bank's InfoShop. It is usually four to five pages long and contains the information mentioned above - the objective, a brief description, etc. It also contains the name of the World Bank Task Manager or Team Lead who is supervising the project, a useful contact for companies interested in bidding for work on the project. The PID is an essential resource for tailoring bidding documents to the project concerned.

The Integrated Safeguards Data Sheet (ISDS) is also prepared for the first time after the project's first formal review and made available publicly. It identifies key issues under the World Bank's safeguard policies for environmental and social issues, and provides information about how they will be addressed during project preparation.

The Preparation Phase

This part of the process is driven by the country that the Bank is working with and can take anything from a few months to three years, depending on the complexity of the project being proposed. The Bank plays a supporting role, offering analysis and advice where requested. During this period, the technical, institutional, economic, environmental and financial issues facing the project will be studied and addressed - including whether there are alternative methods for achieving the same objectives. An assessment is required of projects proposed for Bank financing to help ensure that they are environmentally sound and sustainable (Environmental Assessment). The scope of the Environmental Assessment depends on the scope, scale and potential impact of the project.
Useful public documents
An Environmental Assessment Report (EA) analyzes the likely environmental impact of a planned project and steps to mitigate possible harm.
An Indigenous Peoples Development Plan identifies potentially adverse effects on the health, productive resources, economies, and cultures of indigenous peoples.
The Environmental Action Plan - describes the major environmental concerns of a country, identifies the main causes of problems, and formulates policies and concrete actions to deal with the problems.
The Appraisal Phase
The Bank is responsible for this part of the process. Bank staff review the work done during identification and preparation, often spending three to four weeks in the client country. They prepare for bank management either Project Appraisal Documents (investment projects) or Program Documents (for adjustment operations) and the Financial Management team assesses the financial aspects of the project. The PID is updated during this phase. These documents are released to the public after the project is approved (see below).
The Negotiation and Approval Phase
After Bank staff members have appraised the proposed project, the Bank and the country that is seeking to borrow the funds, negotiate on its final shape. Both sides come to an agreement on the terms and conditions of the loan. Then the Project Appraisal Document (PAD) or the Program Document (PGD), along with the Memorandum of the President and legal documents are submitted to the Bank's Board of Executive Directors for approval. The appropriate documents are also submitted for final clearance by the borrowing government which may involve ratification by a council of ministers or a country's legislature. Following approval by both parties, the loan agreement is formally signed by their representatives. Once this has occurred, the loan or credit is declared effective, or ready for disbursement, after the relevant conditions are met, and the agreement is made available to the public.
Useful public documents
The Project Appraisal Document (PAD) presents all the information the Board needs to approve Bank financing of the proposal. Before 1999, this document was called the Staff Appraisal Report. The Program Document (PGD) describes adjustment lending operations, and sets out the Bank's appraisal and assessment of the feasibility and justification for the program.
The Technical Annex supplements a Memorandum and Recommendation of the President for freestanding technical assistance loans, which do not require Project Appraisal Documents.
The Implementation and Supervision Phase
The implementation of the project is the responsibility of the borrowing country, while the Bank is responsible for supervision. Once the loan is approved, the borrowing government, with technical assistance from the Bank, prepares the specifications and evaluates bids for the procurement of goods and services for the project. The Bank reviews this activity to ensure that its procurement guidelines have been followed. If they have, the funds will be disbursed. The Bank's Financial Management Team maintains an oversight of the financial management of the project including periodically requiring audited financial statements.
Useful public document
Report on the Status of Projects in Execution provides a very brief summary of all projects that were active during the previous fiscal year. Previously an internal communication to the Board of Executive Directors, the SOPE Report now is available to the public. Projects that closed during the fiscal year are no longer included in the SOPE, since their Implementation Completion Reports are also publicly disclosed.
The Implementation Completion Report
At the end of the loan disbursement period (anywhere from 1-10 years), a completion report identifying accomplishments, problems, and lessons learned is submitted to the Bank Board of Executive Directors for information purposes.
Useful public document
Implementation Completion Reports review the results and assess an operation on completion of each loan financed by the Bank. Operational staff prepare these self-evaluations for every completed project.
The Evaluation Phase
Following the completion of a project, the Bank's Operations Evaluation Department conducts an audit to measure its outcome against the original objectives. The audit entails a review of the project completion report and preparation of a separate report. Both reports are then submitted to the executive directors and the borrower. They are not released to the public.
Useful public documents
Project Performance Assessment Reports rate project outcomes (taking into account relevance, efficacy, and efficiency), sustainability of results, and the institutional development impact. One in four completed projects (or about 70 a year) is chosen for a Project Performance Assessment Report, which takes Operations and Evaluation Department staff about six weeks to produce and normally includes a visit to the project in the borrowing country.
Impact Evaluation Reports assess the economic worth of projects and the long-term effects on people and the environment. These "second looks" at projects are performed five to eight years after the close of loan disbursements.
Inspection Panel Reports review claims by affected parties that the Bank failed to follow its operational policies and procedures with respect to the design, appraisal and/or implementation of a Bank-financed operation.
Projects may be dropped at any point in the project cycle from preparation to approval. For these projects, which never achieve active status, Project Information Documents, described above, are effectively the final documents.
See also Measuring Results.
Additional Information
• The Monthly Operational Summary discloses the status of projects in the World Bank's lending pipeline from the point they are identified to the time the loan or credit agreement supporting them is signed.
• The Infoshop provides an explanation of the Project Cycle and related documents.
• The Bank's Latin America and Caribbean section has prepared its own description of the Project Cycle, along with relevant links and check lists associated with different stages
• The Business Opportunities site provides advice on how businesses wishing to bid on Bank-financed projects can interact with the Project Cycle.
• A glo
ssary of project documents.

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