Passionate about project cycle management

Community EmpowermentPoor Communities

We are so excited to share the second edition of Roots 5 – Project Cycle Management with you! Here are just a couple of reasons why people we work with share our enthusiasm for the new guide:  

‘I can see lots of modifications in the new version. Roots 5 can help me to be very systematic in every single step of community development.’ Tearfund partner, Myanmar 

Roots 5 is the ideal tool for achieving sustainable planning goals based on active participation.’ Programme Manager, Bolivia.

Picture of people helping others. Illustration: Wingfinger
Image: Wingfinger
Roots 5 Project Cycle Management front cover

Why are we passionate about improving project cycle management? 

Organisations that have good project cycle management (PCM) are good at designing, planning, implementing and learning from their work. In turn, work that is well planned and incorporates learning is much more likely to be successful and lead to lasting change. Good PCM will help you to grow the reputation of your organisation and the funding you are able to raise. Ultimately, good PCM allows your organisation to have a greater impact: your work will benefit more people more effectively for longer. 

Why did we decide to write a new guide? 

The original version of this guide was published in 2003 and continues to be a widely used resource on PCM. However, since it was written, the global humanitarian and development community has continued to advance its thinking and tools around PCM. This guide builds on the strength of the original version but incorporates the thinking and learning of the last decade.

What’s new? 

The new content in Roots 5 includes: 

  • A project scenario We’ve developed a fictional project scenario based on Tearfund’s experience to illustrate principles throughout the guide. It gives examples of how to complete each project phase and demonstrates that all you need is a pen and paper for most of the tools. 
  • Tools to help you to manage risk In our ever-changing world, excellent risk management is becoming more and more important to the success of projects. The guide explains how to use the four stages of risk management: identification, assessment, response planning and monitoring.
  • Theory of Change Theory of change brings into the open your beliefs about how change happens. This means others can see your logic and contribute to it. This leads to a shared understanding and builds a strong foundation for the project. The guide takes you through six simple steps to create a theory of change. 
  • Project roles, responsibilities and governance Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it wasn’t clear who was responsible for what or who was the decision-maker? We’ve included tools to help you to clearly define project roles, responsibilities and governance, so you can reduce confusion and help the project team to be as efficient as possible.  
  • Scheduling tools With so many ideas and so many urgent needs it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the scheduling tools we’ve included will help you to organise your thinking and break the project down into more manageable steps. One reader commented they were going to use these tools to help them in their personal life too! 
  • Learning and adapting Things change and we need to adapt. We’ve included tools to help you to monitor the project from three different angles: time, scope and cost. Monitoring helps you to know what is working in the project and what is not working. The richest learning comes when you identify what is not working and use this information to adapt the project so it can have the best impact possible.
  • How to close a project well When project activities have finished it can be tempting to think that all the work has been done. But it is important to make sure that you bring the project to a formal end, or you move it into the next stage. In the guide we include guidance on tasks at the end of the project, including celebrating success! 
  • What are our hopes for the guide? Our big hope for the guide is that it helps to improve how projects around the world are designed and implemented and learnt from, so that they achieve maximum impact to reduce poverty and improve lives. 

You can download the new guide, Roots 5 on Project Cycle Management, here. You can buy a print copy of the guide here.

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Anna Ling
Anna Ling is Programme Effectiveness Advisor at Tearfund. Email: