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Project control

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project management

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Project control

  2. 2. Contents 1 The Need for Project Control 2 Scope of Control 3 Data Capture 4 How to Apply Project Control 5 Controlling the Project ParticipantsConstruction Management Project control
  3. 3. Introduction About Project control  The development of a project plan or baseline plan completes the first phase of the planning and control cycle. The next phase is project execution and control using the baseline plan as the means to achieving the project objectives and an outline of the required condition. Needless to say planning is a pointless exercise unless the execution of the plans are tracked and controlled through accurate reporting on performance.  A structured approach to planning and control is recommended by experienced practitioners, because through a well disciplined system all parties will know: what is expected of them, their required performance, and the reports they must generate. The baseline plan may be seen as a number of documents which indicate the path the project should follow. Consider the comparison with the course a yacht steers – by taking bearings, the navigator can plot the yachts position. If the yacht has gone off course they can apply steering control to bring the yacht back on course.  Similarly the projects baseline plan is the course to steer, with the tracking and monitoring functions ascertaining the projects position with respect to time, procurement, resources and costs. If the project is off course, then control in the form of corrective action must be applied.  It is essential for effective project control that performance is measured while there is still time to take corrective action. This chapter will show that not only is it cheaper to take effective action early on in the project, but as the project approaches completion, the project manager may in fact be powerless to take any effective corrective action at all.Construction Management 3 Project control
  4. 4. 1. The need of project control  As projects increase in size and complexity, so the progress reporting needs to move from a subjective assessment of progress to a more structured approach. The unsuspecting project manager should beware of the over optimistic reporting trap (the Venus Fly trap!).  Consider this situation - if the progress is consistently over reported during the early stages of the project the managers are only fooling themselves, because the lack of progress will become obvious during the final stages of the project when the over optimistic reporting catches up with itself (see figure 1)  This phenomenon is shown in the over optimistic reporting graph (figure I), where the three lines represent planned work, reported progress and earned progress. In this case the reported progress was over stated throughout the project until, at about 80% complete it becomes obvious that they were not 80% complete and for the next few weeks the reported progress remained static as the earned progress catches up.Construction Management 4 Project control
  5. 5. 1. The need of project control If the reported progress had been accurate at the outset, the under performance trend would have promoted corrective action during the early stages of the project. But now at 80% complete the project manager may be powerless to bring the project in on time and by increasing the workforce will not only increase costs, but may delay the project even more! If the optimistic reporting curve is overlaid on the influence vs cost of changes curves (see figure 2) discussed in the Project Life-Cycle chapter, then this would further support the argument for accurate reporting at the outset of the project. Not only has the project manager the highest level of influence at the outset, but also the cost of changes are more economicalConstruction 5 Project control
  6. 6. 2. Scope of Control It may be argued that as the project manager is the single point of responsibility, then he is responsible for everything that happens on the project. Consider the following knowledge areas: 1.Scope Management: The scope of work defines what the project is producing or delivering. The control of the scope of work is also called configuration management.Construction Management 6 Project control
  7. 7. 2. Scope of Control 2.Technical Support: Technical support from the design office and drawing office extends from interpreting the clients brief to addressing day to day problems within statutory regulations and good building practice 3.Time Management: Outlines the sequence and timing of the scope of work. Planning documents: Network diagram Control documents : Progress report Scheduled bar chart (actual vs planned) Key date / milestone schedule Gantt chart Rolling horizon bar chart Revised bar chart Earned value Trend documentsConstruction Management 7 Project control
  8. 8. 2. Scope of ControlConstruction Management 8 Project control
  9. 9. 2. Scope of ControlConstruction Management 9 Project control
  10. 10. 2. Scope of ControlConstruction Management 10 Project control
  11. 11. 2. Scope of ControlConstruction Management 11 Project control
  12. 12. 3. Data Capture Data capture is part of the progress reporting cycle where information is regularly reported back to the project manager on the projects progress and status. The data capture feedback pro forma should be structured in line with the original estimate. This will help to make the data capture less subjective. The person responsible for the quality of the data capture needs to be clearly identified by the project manager. One method of improving data capture, is to make the department that uses the information responsible for updating it. This should encourage the users to ensure that the data input is accurate. A common integration problem with data capture and the subsequent analysis, occurs when the tracking categories are set up within one structure, while data is collected through another structure. For example the planning department being structured by work package or activity, while the procurement department is structured by supplier. In this case the baseline plan is no longer suitable for tracking the projects progress because there is no basis for comparison. The accuracy of the data capture will directly effect the accuracy of any reports generated. Data capture with an accuracy of +I- 20% will give subsequent reports an accuracy of +I- 20%. As a guide the accuracy of the report should be the same or better than the profit margin of the project and in line with the level of risk and level of control required. A higher level of accuracy is required on critical activities, because any delays on these activities will extend the projects duration.Construction Management 12 Project control
  13. 13. 3. Data Capture Data Capture Example: Consider a drawing office which may need to produce 500 drawings for a project within a short time frame (table 1). By setting-up a suitable data capture pro forma the project manager will be able to quantify their performance to date and get a feel for "how they are doing "..Construction Management 13 Project control
  14. 14. 3. Data CaptureConstruction Management 14 Project control
  15. 15. 4.How to Apply Project Control An effective way to achieve commitment is to make the person aware of the cost of any delay to the project. When the project involves the repetitive manufacture of components it may be appropriate to change the management style to production management. Production management applies effective control not through activity based planning but through earned man hours. Progress is then monitored and controlled using the production line earned man hours S curve. Any changes to the plan should be discussed with the foreman first: to see if they are possible to get their input for the planning to gain their commitment. If your resources are being under utilised remember that assigning more men to the job may actually slow down production. This is because those already working effectively will have to spend time explaining the job to the newcomers. An excuse often used for not feeding progress back to the planner is "we dont have the time" or "we are too busy doing the work". It is the project managers responsibility to ensure that all the project members appreciate that data capture is an important aspect of their management function. Short training programmes should be developed to ensure that all the managers appreciate and understand how the information is flowing in the project. Avoid persecution of the responsible parties if there are overruns, otherwise in future the managers will be reluctant to give you any information for fear that it will be held against them. Project control should be seen as a tool to assist managers reach their objectives, not as a weapon of attack. The process of project tracking and analysis should be seen as a tool for the project manager and no1 a means of removing responsibility. In fact, by identifying future problems, CPM enforces the project managers authority to apply timely control to keep the project on course.Construction Management 15 Project control
  16. 16. 4.How to Apply Project Control Failure to coordinate and communicate information between departments may lead to a dissipation of company resources and duplication of effort. It will also limit the amount of cross checking, which is a useful method for identifying discrepancies and future problems. It is the project managers responsibility to establish priorities and differentiate between what is urgent and what is important. If you allow the workforce to set their own priorities they may leave low paying jobs and jobs they dislike until last. This could adversely affect the scheduling of the project. Research has shown that workers tend to have a preference for a regular income, which, if not controlled can influence their progress reporting. For example, if workers are paid piece-rate and they have just had a good month, but know the work load for the following month will be less, they may be tempted to under claim in the first month to give them a balanced income in the following month. If project progress is based on worker production claims, this may distort the reported status of the project. Respond early to any variation, before small problems become disasters. Encourage the team members to inform you of deviations. As the schedule is only an estimate, you must expect activities not to be exactly as per the schedule - introduce a degree of flexibility. Although plans should be revised to reflect the current progress, it is important not to forget the original baseline plan to guide the project to completion. Contractors may be tempted to over claim to improve their cash-flow (in the short term). If the project is in serious jeopardy, the client and stakeholders should be involved.Construction Management 16 Project control
  17. 17. 5. Controlling the Project Participants The effective control of the project participants is essential for project success. Projects are executed by people, who must be managed. This section will outline a simple method to control the numerous transactions between the project manager and project participants.  Set up a file for each identity on the project, this could be per person, per department, per supplier or per contractor.  When any of these people are contacted, log the conversation and confirm in writing any agreements. Try to set performance targets which can be monitored and reported back at the next meeting.  File the minutes of any discussions, copies of memos and mark actions required. As a memory prompt, mark in your work diary all future meetings, items to be expedited and reply by dates. This procedure can be supplemented by developing an action list. Action List: The action list is a control sheet which logs all the actions numerically and groups them per responsibility. An action may be any item of work that needs controlling by the project manager.Construction Management 17 Project control
  18. 18. 5. Controlling the Project Participants The process is as follows:  Open an action file per work item. This could be a person, department, location or item of work.  Sort the action list per work item, which will usually relate to a person.  Initiate control.  Regularly update the list increasing the revision number each time. The action list provides an excellent prompt list.Construction Management 18 Project control
  19. 19. Bibliography Project management and controlling techniques , by , Rory Burke JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management pmbook.ce.cmu.edu/12_Cost_Control,_ Monitoring,_and_Accounting.htmlConstruction Management 19 Project control