Management Fundamentals for Project Control

As a project manager, there are a few management fundamentals to consider when establishing your project control system.


It is important to know that a project is the most at risk, and most likely to change, at the beginning of the project.

  • Focus on priorities Understand what is important to the project and to the organization. Understand that whatever you do focus on will become important. Make sure there is alignment between the two.
  • Scale to project The level of rigor and detail in your project control system should be consistent with the level of risk in the project. It should also be consistent with the project budget. In other words, projects with either low risk or small budgets should not be burdened with a project control system that is designed for larger, mission-critical projects.
  • Think "process" You do not want to spend all of your time and energy putting out fires, trying to get basic status information, and feeling like you are not in control of your project. You want to establish a natural system of control for the project…you want to plan it in advance. This applies to the project as a whole and to each individual team member's contribution.
  • Expect changes Project control does not mean prevent changes at all costs. Conversely, project changes should be expected, planned, and well-managed.
  • Invest in thorough planning The more energy spent in planning, the easier it is to control a project. If the project is defined properly, work is planned from the bottom-up, risks have been identified, stakeholders are in agreement on project objectives, and the project control system has been accounted for, keeping the project on track should take much less effort.
  • Consider organizational culture Depending on the level of project management maturity in your organization, you may need to consider a gradual implementation of project controlling procedures to achieve greater acceptance and effectiveness. Again, just make sure you focus on top priorities.
  • Set expectations Remember to think "project control" in your project communications. Ensure that each team member understands what is expected from the project and from his or her individual roles. In addition, make sure that the project team sees the discipline and priority that you place on all project control procedures.
  • Be consistent An important element to both effective project control and effective project communications is consistency. Project performance needs to be measured and reported on a consistent, regular basis. This approach is key for both early detection of variances and for establishing a culture of accountability to project assignments.
  • Pay attention early Just to follow-up on the last pointmake sure to pay close attention to your project early on. Per a study of over 800 projects for the Department of Defense since 1977, the outcome of a project was no better than its performance taken at the 15% completion point. Thus, if a project was behind schedule and/or over-budget at the 15% completion point, it did not recover from this variance. The general consensus is that this happens for two key reasons: lax project controls in the early stages, and poor estimating. If the estimates were off for the immediate work efforts, they are unlikely to be more accurate farther down the timeline.


15% Completion RuleNo project recovers from a variance at the 15% completion point. If you underestimated the near term, you are generally off on the long term too.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project

Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
Year: 2006
Pages: 169 © 2008-2020.
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