Project DPro and Program DPro: Know your phases!


For anyone wishing to place projects in the context of programs, and start thinking about the connections and differences between Project DPro and Program DPro, here we present a brief discussion of the phases involved in project and program management.

Project DPro

Let’s begin with Project DPro, which contains the five management phases of Identification and Definition, Set Up, Planning, Implementation and Closure. Remember that the First edition of PMD Pro contained a sixth phase,   “Monitoring, Evaluation and Control”. The second edition now recognizes that MEAL activities (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) occur throughout the phase model, and thus incorporate MEAL into each Project DPro phase.  

The Project DPro phase model shows that Planning and Implementation are iterative.

Project DPro Phases

Program DPro

The four phases of Program DPro are in many senses similar to the Project DPro model. With the major difference being the combination of Planning and Implementation into just one phase.

The Program DPro phases of Identification and Closure occur either side of iterations of Design and Planning & Implementation. When creating this Program Management cycle, PM4NGOs wished to reflect the strategic nature of Program Management.     

So, how does this work in practice? During the Program Design phase, a roadmap is created which shows how the different elements of the program will fit together, providing a framework for the management of individual projects. Here, the strategic nature of Program Management is most evident. The component projects of the program will each have a project manager, so management occurs at a higher level. Planning and Implementation of program components interacts iteratively with the Design phase.

Program DPro Phases

Principles and Decision Gates

Two key elements of both Project DPro and Program DPro are the Principles underlying management and decision gates. When using the principles of Well Governed, Participatory, Comprehensive, Integrated, and Adaptive at both project and program levels, we can create cohesion in our overall management approach.

For both processes, decision gates provide management with crucial opportunities to stop and reflect before committing to proceed with the project or program.    


Six disciplines are critical for both project and program managers. Five of these: Justification, Time, Scope, Risk and Stakeholder are the same for projects and programs. Whereas Project Management includes the key discipline of Resource Management, Program DPro’s focus on Financial management reflects the strategic nature of Program Management.

Learn more

For more information you can download both the Project DPro Second Edition, and Program DPro from the main PM4NGOs website.

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