Variance Responses

If the variance is due to estimating errors or estimating assumptions that have not held up, you should update your estimates and assumptions based on your actual experiences, and use this new information as the basis for the revised baseline.

As we have mentioned, the first goal of our project control system is to prevent any variance. However, we also realize variances and changes will occurthis is the nature of the project beast. Thus, the remaining goals of project control are centered on early detection and appropriate response. Let's review the general response options that are available to us (the project) when a variance occurs.

  • Take corrective actions The preferred option, whenever possible, is to understand the root cause of the variance and then implement action steps to get the variance corrected. When performance measurement is frequent, it is more likely that action can be taken that will make a difference.

    Examples of corrective actions include adding resources, changing the process, coaching individual performance, compressing the schedule (fast-tracking, crashing), or reducing scope (this would be documented as a change request too).

  • Ignore it In cases where the variance is small (and falls within an acceptable threshold range), you may choose to take no action to resolve the deviation. Even in these cases, it would be advisable to log the variance as a risk factor.
  • Cancel project There may be times when the appropriate response is to cancel the project altogether. This response is more likely on projects where one or more key assumptions have not held or when one or more of the critical success factors has a very low tolerance for any deviations.
  • Reset baselines While taking corrective action is the preferred option for performance variances, there are times when the variance cannot be eliminated. This is common on knowledge-based projects and common on projects where the estimating assumptions have not held. In these cases, a decision to reset the performance baselines is made and approved. Then from this point on, performance is measured from this revised baseline. This is part of the change control procedures we will discuss more in Chapter 11.


Approved change requests would cause a baseline revision 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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