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Project Monitoring and Control Cheat Sheet by

Project Monitoring and Control
information     control     action     monitor     variances     corrective     gather     reporting

The project control life cycle (PCLC) steps

1.
Produce project plan
2.
Monitor progress against plan
3.
Compare actual progress with planned progress
4.
Identify variations from the plan
5.
Apply corrective action as / if necessary
Steps 2 - 5 should be repeated to continue the control cycle

Taking corrective action

PMs role is day to day to apply minor correc­tions as required
Major correc­tions need to be referred to superiors
Tolerance – PMs authority to make changes or apply corrective action
Exception report – outlines problem and options for solution, given to the project board. Includes:
-
Background
-
Reasons why the exception arose
-
Options
-
Risks
-
Exception plans showing how the project needs to be amended to implement sugges­tions
-
Amended business case
-
Recomm­end­ations
Contin­gency pool – set of resources controlled by PM and can be allocated by PM as needed
Reco­mme­nda­tions may include:
Work harder, longer or faster
Solve a short term problem or meet a deadline. Tired, stressed and demoti­vated staff. Increased costs if overtime paid
Increase resources
Adding more people in IT does not often increase produc­tivity, often it decreases. Training takes time and uses current resources. Expensive.
Replan
Reallocate the time on tasks which took shorter than expected. Internal movement of staff at no extra cost.
Extend the time scale
Sensible option. Common choice, requires negoti­ation. Extending deadline often seen as weak management or the project being out of control. More expensive
Reduce scope
Delive­rables removed or delayed until later. Does not reduce costs, but value to the user may be reduced
Terminate the project
If no other option is ok, this maybe the only sensible thing to do. Maybe politi­cally unacce­ptable

Gantt Chart Example

 

Monitoring progress

What should we monitor?
Progress toward delive­rables, products and milest­ones. Progress in the WBS. % complete. Resource usage. Expend­iture. Scope and size of delive­rables. Watch out for scope creep. Monitor quality.
How should we monitor?
Formal
Lay frequency, content and format out at the beginning of the project.
-
Advantage: get commitment from people in writing and establish routines
-
Disadv­antage: reports maybe seen as an unprod­uctive overhead. Staff need to be convinced of the value
-
Types: Written progress reports, email, progress meetings
Informal
Manager have an awareness of what team enduring
-
Advantage: more honest and faster commun­ication of problems
-
Disadv­antage: need to avoid micro managing
-
How: Chats with the team indivi­dually

Purpose of Team meetings

AKA Checkpoint meetings
Weekly / agile might be daily
Report from team leader to PM will be prepared. AKA Checkpoint report
Agenda typically
-
Each team members progress against their plans
-
Reasons for variances
-
Expected progress – what each team member will do next
-
Current problems or issues
-
Possible future problems – may include risks from the risk register
Issues log: record issues in an issues log, which will be updated as they are resolved
Backlog list: In an agile project a backlog list of tasks completed and to be done would be updated

Programme board / steering committee meetings

Projects are sometimes grouped into progra­mmes, where a number of projects contribute to a set of overar­ching objectives
Freq
Less frequent
Agenda
Less detailed. More of a business focus than a project focus

Cumulative value chart with earned value

 

Applying control

No point in monitoring without control
Do through the reporting cycle
-
Problems reported in progress
-
Apply controls to bring it back on course (Move resources from non-cr­itical to critical)
-
Review allocation of resources
-
Reduce scope
Impo­rtant to unders­tand
The people respon­sible for the project have the right to change the project object­ives, not the project manager

Reporting structure

Reports should be concise and relevant. Sent only to those who need them.

Highlight report

The report to the steering committee
Intervals and topics in report need to conform to requir­ements of the recipients and the importance of what is being conveyed.
Obtain formal agreement on reporting procedures from all parties involved

Purpose of Project board meetings

Attendees
PM and project board members, perhaps a secretary
Freq
~monthly. Larger projects probably has less frequency of catch ups
Agenda
Similar as for team meeting
Report
Highlight report, supplied by PM
Highlight report - typically includes the following inform­ation
-
Details of progress against project plan
-
Current milestones achieved
-
Delive­rables completed
-
Resource usage
-
Reasons for any deviations from the plan
-
New issues and unresolved issues
-
Changes to risks assess­ments
-
Plans for the next period and products to be delivered
-
Graphical repres­ent­ations of progress inform­ation

Graphical repres­ent­ation of progress inform­ation

Gantt chart
You will need to compare the current situation with the original plan, so the details on the Gantt chart need to be baselined
-
Take a snapshot of the schedule at key points
-
Maybe several but an important one will be the final agreed schedule at the beginning of the project
Cumu­lative resource chart
-
Present usage details
-
Aka S curve chart
-
Data points: Expected expend­iture & Actual expend­iture
Earned value analysis (EVA)
-
See if we are ahead or behind time, and above or below budget
-
EVA shows budget originally allocated to completed items
-
When completed we can say value is earned

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