The Project Managers Institute (PMI) lists the project control process as part of the monitor and control process group. This group of work consists of the processes required to track and monitor the progress and performance of a project and identify any areas that require changes. Project control is a continuous process that requires the project manager to observe, gather information, and make changes to the project as necessary. The process of monitoring and controlling the project can be thought of as a feedback cycle.
Project Control Process
The project control process compares actual performance versus the planned performance of the project. A project manager uses a formula to determine if the work that has actually been completed matches what was originally planned for completion at any given time. For example, a project planned to have 50% of the work completed and budgeted to spend $100,000 by the 6-month mark. A project manager can calculate the actual amount of work completed and budget spent versus what was planned. If the two figures are not equal, corrective action may be required.
The project control process will also identify and track new risks and issues. Tracking risks and issues is important because either one, if not controlled, can quickly cause the project to overspend or fall behind schedule.
Project status reports are another method used to determine if a project is under control. A project manager will meet with the project team regularly to gather status report information from each work group involved in the project. Status reports are another method a project manager can use to identify when the project may be experiencing issues that require corrective action.
Project Control Tools
There are several different project control tools, which include expert judgment, analytical tools, and meetings.
- Expert Judgment: The project manager will use their past experience, or expert judgment to influence decisions on the current project. Often, the project manager will use the entire project management team to help make decisions for the project.
- Analytical Tools: There are many analytical techniques the project manager can use to identify the potential for variations in a project’s performance. Regression analysis, causal analysis, and earned value management are just some of the analytic tools a project manager uses to track a project’s performance.
- Meetings: Meetings can be face to face, virtual, formal, or informal, and can include project team members, executives, and stakeholders. Meetings are useful to the project control process because they create a method for project stakeholders to discuss issues and concerns.