Fundamentals Of Project Management

If the worker has to ask the project manager what to

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Unformatted text preview: Privacy | Ad Info | Home Use of this site is subject to certain Terms & Conditions, Copyright © 1996-2000 EarthWeb Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of EarthWeb is prohibited. Read EarthWeb's privacy statement. Fundamentals of Project Management by James P. Lewis AMACOM Books ISBN: 0814478352 Pub Date: 01/01/95 Search Tips Search this book: Advanced Search Previous Table of Contents Next Title ----------- CHARACTERISTICS OF A PROJECT CONTROL SYSTEM All good project control systems have several characteristics in common. These include: • A focus on what is important. The control system must focus on project objectives. The aim is to ensure that the project mission is achieved. To do that, the control system should be designed with these questions in mind: • • • • What is important to the organization? What are we attempting to do? Which aspects of the work are most important to track and control? What are the critical points in the process at which controls should be placed? Control should be exercised over what is important. On the other hand, what is controlled tends to become important. Thus, if budgets and schedules are emphasized to the exclusion of quality, only they will be controlled; the project may well come in on time and within budget at the expense of quality. Project managers must monitor performance carefully to ensure that quality does not suffer. • A system for taking corrective action. A control system should focus on response. If control data do not result in action, then the system is ineffective. That is, a control system must use deviation data to initiate corrective action; otherwise, it is simply a monitoring system, not a control system. If you are driving and realize that you have somehow gotten on the wrong road, but you do nothing to get back on the right road, you are not exercising control. One caution here, though. I once knew a manager whose response to a deviation was to go into the panic mode and begin micro-managing. He then got in the way of the people who were trying to solve the problem and actually slowed them down. Had he left them alone, they would have solved their problem much faster. • An emphasis on timely responses. The response to control data must be timely. If action occurs too late, it will be ineffective. This is frequently a serious problem. Data on project status are sometimes delayed by four to six weeks, making it useless for taking corrective action. Ideally, information on project status should be available on a real-time basis. In most cases, however, that is not possible. For many projects, weekly status reports are adequate. Ultimately, you want to find out how many hours people actually work on your project and compare that figure to what was planned. This means that you want accurate data. Some people may fill out weekly time reports without having kept track of the...
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