The USAID Program Cycle 

Program CycleThe Program Cycle, codified in the Automated Directive Systems (ADS) 201, is USAID’s operational model for planning, delivering, assessing, and adapting development programming in a given region or country to achieve more effective and sustainable results in order to advance U.S. foreign policy. Together with ADS 200, ADS 201 replaces ADS 200-203.

The Program Cycle policy was revised in its totality in 2016 to fully integrate the fundamental components of the Agency’s programming into a more complete and coherent business model. It also highlights four principles that are essential for good development and serve as the foundation for ADS 201:

  • Apply analytic rigor: Make strategic choices based on conclusions supported by evidence.
  • Manage adaptively: Make adjustments in response to new information and context changes.
  • Promote sustainability: Generate lasting changes that can be sustained by local actors.
  • Utilize diverse approaches for increased flexibility: Use a range of modalities to address diverse development challenges.

This page aggregates key resources related to implementation of ADS 201. Keep an eye on the space below for new supplemental resources on the revised policy.


Below are some key resources to learn more about the Program Cycle and its updates.