Deploying project control … is it useful?

diagram Project Control

 

What is Project Controls?

Project controls is one of the project management disciplines based on the management of the project milestones and management of resources (human, material and equipment) associated with costs in order to evaluate and optimise the project objectives. The project monitoring is essential throughout the entire project life cycle, from the tender phase up to the commissioning or the maintenance phases.

Why?

Project controls is of primordial importance in the monitoring of projects first because it allows the estimation of the initial baseline, determining the project status, estimating future project potential, identifying any variances (baseline to current position and baseline to potential future position), and considering appropriate action to be taken to recover any positive variance.

Tasks variance based on finish dates refers to differences identified in document submissions and the potential variations from project threats, issues and opportunities.

Who is responsible?

Project controls is under the responsibility of the Project Controls Manager PCM as a dedicated resource for the project. The PCM’s role is to report directly to the project director.

For some customers contract management is under the responsibility of the project controls manager given that they master the quantities and the history of the project.

Project Controls Manager

  • leads and coordinates the Project Controls activities
  • initiating the organizing and planning/ budgeting activities
  • ensuring the correct application and operation of controls systems in accordance with the PCP
  • focus is on planning and coordination of project activities, performance, and progress measurement

Project Scheduler

  • establishes and operates the project scheduling, and progress measurement systems
  • participates in organizing and defining efforts, as well as change management, analysis, forecasting & reporting

Project Cost Specialist

  • Cost Control Execution Plan including the change management, forecasting and reporting processes, and systems.
  • validation, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of workhours, expenditures, commitments, and performance against the baseline plan of the current forecast.
  • responsible for maintaining budget/ forecast integrity and reconciliation of the Cost System with the Time Entry and Financial systems

The services of a Project Controller:

The Project control manager’s mission is to collect the data for the project, plan and evaluate the quantities of means and resources.

The Project control manager has an essential role in the organisation of the project and fulfils the following tasks:

  • Aligning with the project management strategy and validate the project planning strategy
  • Maintaining the project baseline and ensuring monitoring up to the project delivery phase
  • Re baseline if changes to the project scope and preparation / drafting of narrative
  • Documentation Control – Documentation management system is required such as Oracle Aconex
  • Scope and Change Management
  • Risk management
  • Establishing an estimation of costs and alerting the project management on any impact
  • Managing the earned value and reporting on the project performance
  • Contributing to the drafting of litigation letters and communicating with the contract manager
  • Participating in the formalization of different claims subjects
  • Guaranteeing the correct functioning of Electronic document management – EDM
  • The deployment of Project indicators – Key Performance Indicators
  • Preparing the monthly report

The added value of Project controls throughout the project

There are several advantages brought by Project control as it allows;

  • A concise and detailed vision of the state of progress of a project, helping in decision making.
  • Avoiding over consumption of resources and working time: good Project controls allows for efficiency in the use of the project’s available resources and guarantees contractual performances
  • Assisting in the overall communication of the project: Thanks to this communication effort the project is secured
  • Help with productivity: all the project information is well organised by Project controller, optimising the time spent looking for information.
  • Constant and continuous improvement.

The importance of EVM as an indicator

The Earned Value Management (EVM) method was developed by NASA for the monitoring of projects. It is highly recommended as a project indicator for monthly board reports, or simply to build awareness internally concerning output.

Earned value influences two key factors of a project, performance and costs. We therefore understand when we need to add more resources or when production speed needs to increase. It allows the final cost of the project and the end date to be projected.

This method also allows project deviation to be monitored by giving progress indicators and the variance of physical performances.

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