Project Control is the Foundation for Project Success
Project control is the basis for project success! Does this sound a bit arrogant to you? If you have read one of my books about project control, then you will certainly agree with my opinion. Because behind the term project control is more than just pure number crunching as many believe. Project controlling is a comprehensive management method that extends into personnel management and quality management.
What is Project Control all about? Roughly speaking, project control has the goal of systematically monitoring the project based on a sound project plan in order to detect deviations from the planned values as early as possible. The deviations should then be eliminated with effective measures so that the project returns to the planned course as far as possible. You probably already knew this. However, you can read in detail in my book what all this includes and how this is implemented in a practical way in the project.
It is interesting to note that project control still plays a very minor role in projects in many companies. And when project control is practised, I often find that the finance department tries to generate management information with project financial figures that are several weeks old and are intended to be used to control the projects. What do you mean, is it still possible to manage projects effectively with such information? Is project control based only on financial figures, or is there more to it than that? Is project control the primary task of the finance department? It certainly isn't. It is the primary task of the project manager or their project controller.
Project Control is an Essential Activity of the Project Manager
Project control is an essential management activity of the project manager, which occupies often more than 50% of his working time. You probably find these statements exaggerated? It can't be that much! But as you will discover in my book, project control is a very comprehensive concept that covers many areas of project management.
Unfortunately, I notice again and again that project controlling is not understood and also not the most popular work of the project manager, because it obviously contributes nothing to the project progress. A non-value-adding activity - rather annoying than useful. You probably don't think so, otherwise you wouldn't be interested in this topic.
Project Control is More than Just the Budget/Actual comparison!
Unfortunately, many project managers, project sponsors and steering committees do not know exactly what project control means for their project and what tasks it includes at all. When asked what project control means, many project managers would give me the answer: "Project control? Yes, that's the Budget/Actual comparison that I do monthly and the check whether all work packages are completed at the planned time." That's how I would have responded 20 years ago as Project Manager Greenhorn. Today, I know that the project manager's work largely comprises only project control activities and that project control makes a significant contribution to the success of the project. In my book you will learn what methods and techniques project control deals with and how you can make your projects even more successful.
How to Bring Your Ship Safely Into the Harbour
Project control can easily be explained by a ship cruise. Planning: A captain at sea plans his ship's route, cargo, crew, etc. before the great voyage begins. Monitoring: As soon as the ship is on its way, he locates the position of his ship, determines the speed of the ship, checks the performance of the engines, observes wind direction, wind force and swell and feels the mood of the crew. If the recorded values deviate from the planned, normal condition, he must determine the reasons and possible effects of these deviations. Control: On the basis of the data available, the captain decides to take measures to prevent major problems. The effect of the measures is periodically checked and, if necessary, follow-up measures are taken. The project manager as captain of the project has the same task: to bring the project safely into the harbour. Project control is an important tool for this. As the project manager, you take your leadership responsibility and bring your ship safely into the harbour.
In the following figure you can see the Metamodel of Project Management. It covers all activities of project management, project implementation and, in between, project control. Project control with control and monitoring is the link between project management and project implementation. One of the project control elements is project planning—because controlling a project is not possible without project planning.
The Project Controller - the Good Conscience of the Project Manager?
In many projects, the project manager performed the project control himself. For large projects, however, he is glad to be supported by a project controller. This allows the project manager to concentrate even better on further project management activities and important stakeholder management. The project controller with his very broad project control and project management knowledge is a significant relief for the project manager and at the same time becomes his "good conscience". If the project manager and the project controller are a good team, then a major step towards project success has already been taken.
Project control is management work! The responsibility for project controlling always remains with the project manager - however, he will gladly hand over a certain part of it to his project controller.
Take the Next Step
Project controlling is a core activity of every project manager. With this book you get indispensable knowledge on how to successfully apply project control in your project. You will receive practical instructions and tips on how to successfully plan, monitor and control your project. In addition, you will find comprehensive knowledge about Earned Value Management, profitability accounting and cost management, quality control, team control, controlling of agile projects and risk management.