Controlling a project is as important as having a human or artificial intelligence based driver for a car. If there is no one driving a car or controlling it, the car will not be able to go to the destination. The same is true with a project; without any control, we’ll never be able to successfully complete a project and achieve the goals we set out to achieve.
We have already seen how to define project budget and how to manage it, and in this post, we’ll move forward to understand how we control a project. The project control is not limited to just the cost or the control of the budget, rather it is related to all the aspects which have been defined in the project plan like scope, costs, schedule, quality, and other items.
Table of Contents
What Does Controlling a Project Mean?
Controlling a project doesn’t mean micro managing a project, rather it means to keep the project on track and on the path to successful completion. We define the baselines and assumptions at the start while planning a project. However, on the way, things change, but the project control system in place helps to keep the project on track, so we can accomplish the goal and deliver the result and output to the stakeholders and sponsors.
Defining Project Control
It helps to keep projects on track. The targets, baselines, and scope we had planned in project planning is maintained and achieved with project control. This means the project is to be delivered on time, on budget, and with quality required by the sponsor. If there is no control on these aspects then all these items will stretch to the limits, so either we’ll be out of budget before the project completes, or we’ll increase the scope of the project too much.
Sometimes, it is also possible that with the scope creep, we start building something different altogether. We can also face quality issues etc. So to keep all these elements in check and make sure that the required output is delivered on time, on budget, and with the required quality, it is important to keep a control on the project.
Importance of Controlling a Project
- It keeps projects on track
- Achieves critical success factors
- Provides proper reporting mechanism
- Timely identification of issues
- Provides change control process
- Helps manage various artifacts of the project
Requirements of Project Control
There are a few factors which a project manager need to consider while controlling a project. These factors not only include the items to be included in the project plan, but also to be considered while executing the project itself. Here we have listed some key requirements.
- Consider baselines as starting point
- Track constraints and assumptions
- Establish appropriate control processes
- Compare current statuses with baselines
- Perform proper reviews
- Report to stakeholders on time
Process of Project Control
Controlling a project is not complex, but a careful process. If the proper care is not taken during the execution of the project, it is go in the wrong direction very easily. So we have listed the steps used for controlling a project.
- Keep track of scope and priorities
- Establish project control processes
- Set and track assumptions
- Monitor issues and risks
- Take corrective measures on time
- Review and report to stakeholders
Managing Project Variances
If a project starts going off track from what we planned, it’s called variances, and project control processes are set up to avoid this. We either need to correct the problem or reset our baselines if our assumptions were wrong.
Causes of Issues During Project Control
- No or incorrect baselines
- Incorrect assumptions
- No project control processes
- Ignoring the priorities or scope
- Inconsistency in project tracking
- Incompetence of project manager
What is Managed in Project Control
Project control process helps to manage project requirements, risks, procurement, quality, schedule, costs and performance. If any of these things go off track, it is the project control process which brings them back on track.
The understanding of the key project control concepts must be of importance for a successful project manager. If these concepts are not clear or ignored during the execution of a project, the project is bound to fail and there is no antidote to that.