Monitoring and Maintaining Control
Despite our efforts as project managers to plan exceptionally well, things may change or happen that cause our projects to derail.This is where sound, effective monitoring and control in project management proves to be worth its weight in gold in overall project management. It is during the monitor and control process that we keep abreast of project progress, the quality of our efforts, identifying deviations, determining necessary corrective action and implementing those corrective actions.
The thought of change control often enters my mind when thinking about project monitoring and control because project managers spend a great deal of time communicating, planning, dealing with changes and responding to those changes. It is during project monitoring that changes, particularly significant changes, are identified. We invest a great deal of time keeping track of and measuring project progress, identifying issues, and effecting those resolutions.
Cost and schedule are of utmost importance in project monitoring and control. However, the importance of scope, quality, and risk control as well as overall performance measurement and reporting cannot be underestimated.
Project monitoring and controlling are done either manually by hand and using paper, with charts and lists, or using computer-based software applications, such as Microsoft Project, which can be used throughout the life of a project. There are some industries, like construction, where the manual process is still used, although computer-based technology is also employed. As you can imagine, the manual process can be quite time consuming and tedious, but nevertheless it is still favored by some. I strongly believe that computer-based systems are much more efficient and effective because of accessibility, ease of use, viable portability, and ability to perform analyses. Computers also make it easy to maintain, update, process, and provide alerts for and report on various aspects of the projects within an exceptionally reasonable time frame and providing fairly accurate information.
Keep in mind that in order to effectively monitor and control a project, it needs to have been planned and realistically estimated so that controlling, particularly cost and scheduling, are achievable goals that will lead to successful project completion.
This article is the first in a two-part series and has provided an overview of the project monitor and control process and its importance in overall project management. Be sure to read Part 2 of this article series for more specific information pertaining to this phase.