How to Handle Project Monitoring and Controlling Processes?
Last updated on 01st Oct 2020, Artciles, Blog
Monitoring and Controlling Project Work involves tracking the actual project performance with the planned project management activities. It can mainly be looked as a Control function that takes place at all stages of a project i.e. from Initiation through Closing. For small projects, monitoring and control project work is comparatively an easy task. However, as you are aware, Project Management is more stringently required for large projects where the project manager requires a formal effort to monitor and control how the processes are going. He or she will not be personally involved in performing project work in large projects.
Please note the confusing terms. In the exam, Monitoring and Controlling Project Work may just be referring to the integration process and may NOT be talking about the entire monitoring and controlling process group.
Some of the outputs of the Monitor and Control Project Work include:
- Change Requests (including CAPA and defect repairs, CAPA – Correct and Preventive Actions)
- Updates to the project management plan
- Updates to project documents
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This process of monitoring and controlling project work is extremely important as it can happen that you are able to complete the project on-time, however, have not been able to meet the desired quality levels. Similarly, your project has increased scope, however, have exceeded limits of time and cost. The project manager must balance the requirements of different knowledge areas to control the project through Monitor and Control project work. Project Managers create performance measures or use existing organizational performance measures to identify project performance at regular intervals during the course of the project. Monitoring and Controlling project work involves monitoring any other performance measure that the project manager has created or used for this project.
When you think about monitoring and controlling project work, you should take into consideration that it is measuring against the project management plan.
Changes are inevitable. In spite of planning the project to the minutest detail, a project manager will come across changes during the course of the project. These changes are additions to the projects. They may also be changes to the existing policies and procedures used on the project.
Taking corrective actions is a reactive approach whereas taking preventive actions is a proactive approach. It means dealing with anticipated or possible deviations from the performance measurement baseline. Knowing when to take preventive actions requires more experience than a mere understanding of the project management framework, hence, the process of taking preventive actions is not as clear as corrective actions. Some of the examples of preventive actions include:
Changing a vendor because their products nearly failed to meet the acceptance criteria
Cross-skilling the team members on certain specialized tasks to manage to staff and work in case the specialized staff inadvertently falls ill or misses work
Perform Integrated Change Control will also be applicable to any preventive action. Preventive actions could change the project management plan, baselines, policies or procedures, charter, contract, or statement of work.
The 16 Best Practices for Project monitoring and controlling process
Project monitoring and controlling step 1: Take action to control the project
Necessary steps, control points, and actions are taken to monitor and control the project. These actions provide if the project is deviating from the planned baseline.
Project monitoring and controlling step 2: Measure performance
You should measure the performance in order to check whether the project is going well. For instance, cost performance of the project will give an indication whether the planned budget will be sufficient to complete the project. Schedule performance of the project will give an indication whether the planned schedule and dates can be reached.
Step 3: Determine variances and if they warrant a change request
If there is a lot of variance from the baseline, for instance, if it is expected that the project duration will exceed the planned duration by 20%, then regarding actions must be taken to meet the project targets.
Project monitoring and controlling step 4: Influence the factors that cause changes
Changes are inevitable in a project. But, preventive actions can be taken to influence the factors that cause changes. For instance, a detailed scope and requirement clarification with the customer will reduce the changes that will be coming from the customer.
Step 5: Request changes
If there is a deviation from the planned values, then a change can be requested to meet the planned values again.
Project monitoring and controlling step 6: Perform integrated change control
Changes in a project must be implemented in an integrated manner. Because a small change in one aspect of the project might impact the overall project. Performing an integrated change control evaluates the changes and its impacts on the project. Then, a proper change implementation is planned to minimize the risk of changes.
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Step 7: Approve or reject changes
Project monitoring and controlling processes may approve or reject changes. Changes are evaluated by the change control board and if this board rejects the change, it won’t be implemented. If a change is approved, project plan revisions must be done and change should be implemented properly.
Project monitoring and controlling step 8: Inform stakeholders of approved changes
If the decision of the change control board is approving a change. This must be communicated to the stakeholders. Because, the previous plan, scope, and targets have a change. So the stakeholders must be notified about this change.
Project monitoring and controlling step 9: Manage configuration
The configuration of a project describes the meaningful and properly working combination of different modules or parts. In order to ensure healthy project progression, the configuration is managed.
Step 10: Create forecasts
Project monitoring and controlling process group activities create forecasts. What will be the budget of the project on completion? What will be the end date of the project if the project performs as it performed till now? These types of forecasts help to see how far the project is from its targets.
Project monitoring and controlling step 11: Gain acceptance from customer
Once the project deliverables are completed, they are presented to the customer. If the deliverables meet the requirements agreed with the customer, in the beginning, the customer accepts the project and the closing phase is triggered.
Project monitoring and controlling step 12: Perform quality control
Quality control activities check the quality attributes of the delivered outputs. For instance, the product of a project might meet the budget and schedule targets. But the quality requirements might not meet the customers’ expectations. In this case, the project will be considered as failed as well. Therefore, performing quality control is important.
Step 13: Report on project performance
Since forecasting and project performance is measured during monitoring and controlling, project performance reports are sent to relevant stakeholders during this phase as well.
Project monitoring and controlling step 14: Perform risk audits
Risks may affect a project drastically. Therefore, each anticipated risk must be documented, and risk response strategies for each risk must be planned in case a risk occurs.
Project monitoring and controlling step 15: Manage reserves
Reserves are planned to accommodate costs of risks and unexpected situations in projects. For instance, if the project budget is 100,000 USD, a 10% reserve can be planned to accommodate impacts of risks. Or, if the project duration is 12 months, an additional 2 months can be planned as a buffer to overcome any kind of risks that might occur during the project. These reserves are managed in the monitoring and controlling phase.
Step 16: Administer procurements
Tools, equipment or resources can be outsourced from a supplier during a project. Administration of these purchases, outsourcing, and leasing activities are done during the monitoring and control phase of a project.
If a successful monitoring and controlling process can be implemented, the whole project has a better chance to be a success. So the outcomes of closing process group activities will be as planned in the planning phase.
Another word for Defect Repair is “Rework”. When a component of the project does not produce the required output or does not meet the required specifications, a defect repair may be requested. A defect repair may change the project management plan, baselines, policies or procedures, charter, contract, or statement of work, hence, it has to go through a Perform Integrated Change Control Process.
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