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Monitor and Control Project Work

Monitoring and Controlling Project Work involves tracking the actual project performance with the planned project management activities. It can mainly be

looked as a Control function that takes place at all stages of a project i.e. from Initiation through Closing. For small projects, monitoring and control project work is comparatively an easy task. However, as you are aware, Project Management is more stringently required for large projects where the project manager requires a formal effort to monitor and control how the processes are going. He or she will not be personally involved in performing project work in large projects.

Some of the outputs of Monitor and Control Project Work include:

  • Change Requests (including CAPA and defect repairs, CAPA Correct and Preventive Actions)

  • Updates to project management plan

  • Updates to project documents

This process of monitoring and controlling project work is extremely important as it can happen that you are able to complete the project on-time, however, have not been able to meet the desired quality levels. Similarly, your project has increased scope, however, have exceeded limits of time and cost. The project manager must balance the requirements of different knowledge areas to control the project through Monitor and Control project work. Project Managers create performance measures or use existing organizational performance measures to identify project performance at regular intervals during the course of the project. Monitoring and Controlling project work involves monitoring any other performance measure that the project manager has created or used for this project.

Work Authorization System

Work Authorization System is a system to authorize the initiation of work packages or activities. This authorization is given by the project manager. It belongs to the Project Management Information System. This system helps to start work only when only when a formal authorization is given. Most of the times, this tool for authorizing work is not created by the project manager but he uses existing organizational practices on the project.

Change Requests

Changes are inevitable. In spite of planning the project to the minutest detail, a project manager will come across changes during the course of the project. These changes are additions to the projects. They may also be changes to the existing policies and procedures used on the project.

Preventive Action

Taking corrective actions is a reactive approach whereas taking preventive actions is a proactive approach. It means dealing with anticipated or possible deviations from the performance measurement baseline. Knowing when to take preventive actions requires more experience than mere understanding of the project management framework, hence, the process of taking preventive actions is not as clear as corrective actions.

Some of the examples of preventive actions include:

Changing a vendor because their products nearly failed to meet the acceptance criteria

Cross-skilling the team members on certain specialized tasks to manage staffing and work in case the specialized staff inadvertently falls ill or misses work.

Perform Integrated Change Control will also be applicable for any preventive action. Preventive actions could change the project management plan, baselines, policies or procedures, charter, contract, or statement of work.

In the PMBoK guide, preventive actions are described in the following topics:

  • Integration Management

  • Direct and Manage Project Execution

  • Monitor and Control Project Work

  • Scope Management

  • Control Scope

  • Time Management

  • Control Schedule

  • Cost Management

  • Control Costs

  • Quality Management

  • Perform Quality Assurance

  • Perform Quality Control

  • Human Resource Management

  • Manage Project Team

  • Communications Management

  • Manage Stakeholders Expectations

  • Report Performance

  • Risk Management

  • Monitor and Control Risks

Defect Repair

Another word of Defect Repair is Rework. When a component of the project does not produce the required output or does not meet the required specifications, a defect repair may be requested. A defect repair may change the project management plan, baselines, policies or procedures, charter, contract, or statement of work, hence, it has to go through a Perform Integrated Change Control Process.

Defect repairs come across in the following topics of discussion:

  • Integration Management

  • Direct and Manage Project Execution

  • Monitor and Control Project Work

  • Scope Management

  • Verify Scope

  • Control Scope

  • Quality Management

  • Perform Quality Assurance

  • Perform Quality Control

  • Perform Integrated Change Control

The key focus of Integrated Change Control is to measure the impact of change on all project limitations. Changes to any part of the project may be requested during the course of the project especially during the project executing and monitoring and control phase. It is not necessary to execute all changes. In the Perform Integrated Change Control, changes accepted or rejected basis their evaluation and impact. Whenever a change is requested, it is advisable to identify the impact of proposed change on project cost, quality, risks, resources, scope, and also on customer satisfaction.

There are two pre-requisites to measure the impact of change:

  • A realistic project management plan to be used as baseline

  • A complete product and process scope (as applicable)

Since changes are inevitable, project manager should work to prevent the root causes of changes whenever possible. Most cases indicate improper planning of the project results in change requests. Although changes can happen, they are not encouraged and the handling of possible changes must be planned, managed and controlled.

To control changes to the project, the project manager should:

  • Identify all requirements at the earliest

  • Comprehensively identify all the risks related to the project

  • Establish time and cost factors

  • Establish Change Management Process

  • Follow the change management process

  • Have required templates in place to create change requests

Identify clear roles and responsibilities amongst stakeholders to approve changes If number of changes become disproportionate, reevaluate the business case Consider terminating a project (if required) if the number of changes are disproportionate Ensure only approved changes are added to the baselines . Changes can have two categories: the one that impact the project management plan, baselines, policies and procedures, charter, contract, or statement of work and the one that does not impact any of this.

Change Control Board

Basis the level of authority of the project manager, he/she may be required to facilitate decisions about some changes, rather than actually making the decisions. Hence, the need of change control board exists. Review and analysis of change requests is done by the board. The board may either approve or reject a change request. Board can include multiple stakeholders including customers, experts, sponsors, functional managers, project manager, etc.

Process for Making Changes

It is extremely important to prevent the root cause that makes the changes happen. Managing changes comes later, the prior thing to do for a project manager is to eliminate the need for changes. The next step is to identify change. A change originator could be the project manager, the sponsor, the team, the management, the customer or other stakeholders. The project manager can be proactive to identify changes from all these sources. If he is able to identify the changes early, it will decrease the impact of the changes. Identify the impact of the change is the third step. The fourth step is to Create a Change Request. The process of making change should follow a change management plan. The next step (fifth) is to perform integrated change control. The Perform Integrated Change Control seeks answer to the key question: How will the change affect the other project limitations? To resolve this, the first thing to be done is to Assess The Change. The next step is to Look for Options. The third is to check if the change is approved or rejected and the last point is to document the change in change control system.

Close Project or Phase

Close Project or Phase finalizes all activities across all process groups to formally close-out the project or project phase. A project manager must get a formal acceptance of the project. He should issue a final report that shows the project is successful. Issue the final lessons learned. Finally, index and archive all the project records. A few steps to be done by project manager while he is confirming to closing the project include:

  • Confirming that the work is completed as per the baseline

  • Completing closure formalities

  • Gaining final acceptance on the product

  • Completing financial closure

  • Completing product hand-off

  • Soliciting feedback from the customer about the project

  • Completing final performance reporting

  • Indexing and archiving documents

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