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EarthWeb is prohibited. Read EarthWeb's privacy statement. www.erpvn.net Fundamentals of Project Management
by James P. Lewis
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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