The program planning steps are presented in the order which Barry Sweeny recommends that you work. Of course, you can change the actual work sequence. However, you should ask Barry for his rationale for any steps which seem out of sequence to you. He may have a reason for placement in the sequence that you have not considered.
For example, here is Barry's rationale for the placement of step # 21, "Communicate with and seek program support from key decision makers", which is placed toward the end of the development process.
The issue is, WHEN SHOULD you ask decision makers for the resources and funds to implement your program?
Barry's experience is that decision makers are most likely to support requests for resources and funding when they can see that a program is likely to achieve its desired results AND when the results it promises are results THEY WANT. They may not be able to see the potential you see for the program UNTIL they can see a full program proposal and goals and the results that others have gained. Also, they are very likely to have questions that you can only effectively answer after you have developed the full program model.
Given that reality, your entire program may need to be planned to some extent BEFORE you seek support. It also suggests that you may need to seek initial grant funding until you can collect sufficient data to demonstrate the value of your program to local decision makers.
Of course, we know that YOU are a busy person and you may not want to risk investment of so much "up front" time unless you know in advance that the desired results (the support you want) will be delivered in the end. That IS what you are thinking, right?
Think about this...why do YOU wish to wait to invest in your OWN program? You may feel that way because you want to know that the time you'd have to invest to develop the program will be worth it in the end. Right? In that way, you are thinking exactly like your organization's decision makers!
Almost always, THEY will need to know that the results will be worth the investment BEFORE they will feel commitment to your program.
It is true that, sometimes early commitment is possible without much advance information. Most often, asking for support without much information is not the best way to ensure the necessary support. Usually, commitment must be earned.