4.4 Monitoring and Controlling

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So this project is finished, and it's also over budget, because we dumped in some extra overtime or something to spend some more money to get the thing done faster. Typically we find out that 85 to 90% of the problems we're gonna run across on the project or some sorta system issues. Refocus the customer back on the agreements that you made up front, we already had these discussions and we agreed that this is what we're going to do in the project.

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We’re going to talk about monitoring and controlling your project. This is the fourth in our series of process groups, controlling the project. Controlling the project. Gonna monitor and control this project as we move forward. What we’re going to do is look at a couple of things. We’re going to see how we’re doing with the progress on the project. Are we on schedule? And we are gonna see how we’re are doing with spending? Are we within the budget that we have originally that laid out for the project? We’re going to look at the budget we originally laid out for the project. Track and control the project. There’s some steps to this. We’re gonna monitor this thing. So we watch what’s going on. Then we evaluate that. Then we’re going to take some controlling actions if necessary. For the sole reason of successfully delivering the results of this project. Tracking takes two tools. We have to have a schedule. We have to originally say, this is what the project should look like. And then that takes the communication plan, we have to get information about our project to see how we’re doing with spending and how we’re doing with progress. Again our communication plan is going to be a key element in monitoring and controlling this project. Communication is an essential to success. When we look at the communication plan, who needs to be in the communication loops? Why do they need to be in there? How can the project manager keep them informed and involved? What we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be giving people information about the schedule, and getting information from our team members about the schedule. We can track the schedule separately from spending. We can put together some charts to do that, some spreadsheets, there’s all kinds of elaborate things we could put together to do that. And what we’re looking at is what’s estimated at this point, where we actually are at this point, and how much does that vary. Earned value management is a way to help us look at spending and progress on the same chart. What does this show us? The solid blue line is our base line. This says that we have a project that takes a certain amount of time, the number of weeks across the bottom, and will cost a certain amount of money. When we look at most projects, they typically have one of these sideways S-curves. We first start off in the project, not doing so many tasks all at the same time. And so not so much work is happening and we’re not spending so much money. In the middle of the project, a whole lot of things are going on at the same time. We’re spending money like crazy. And then near the end of the project, it sort of tapers off now. We’re at the last two tasks are being done. We’re not doing quite as much work, we’re not spending quite as much money. So typically, projects will have a curve that looks like this. And this is called our plan. This is our planned value curve. And it’s the baseline for our project. There are two other curves on here that we’re going to look at. One of them is the project for the project. And that’s, that pink line on there. So this one says, you know what, we’re ahead of schedule on this. We’re moving faster than we thought. And in fact, as soon as we get that total amount of work done, the project is done. So this project is finished, and it’s also over budget, because we dumped in some extra overtime or something to spend some more money to get the thing done faster. It might have been some requirement that happened out there. Maybe we had a customer or a, you know, competitor that was getting to the marketplace sooner than us, that we realized oh, we gotta catch up. So we’ll put some overtime in here. A little bit more money. More people on this, so we get things done faster. This one is ahead of schedule but also a little bit over budget. This is what we’re looking at. We want one that’s exactly on track, beginning to end of the project. This means that our estimates were perfect. We put all the right people on all the right tasks. Everybody is working at a self-actualization level. And no risks hit the project. Everything went perfect. You’re a great project manager. Everything’s perfect from beginning to end. I don’t think many of you are going to use value analysis, but what we need to do is have that picture in our head of, where should we be, where are we with progress and spending. Track the project, we’re going to compare where we are with where we should be. What does the schedule look like? How much work do we have done compared with how much work we should have done? And that’s going to be the variance in the schedule for earned value management. That’s called, schedule variance or schedule performance index and there are formulas for those. We’re not going to do the formulas in, in this little session. But if you’re interested in that, there are plenty of places to look and you can also look in the project management body of knowledge. Take a look at that. There will be some formulas in there for you. And then also, cost is the same thing. We’re just gonna look at, how much money should we be spending right now, and how much have we spent. And if you look at earn value management again, there’s a cost variance formula and a schedule cost performance index. If you’re using earned value management. Of planned value and earned value, you have earned value and actual cost. Those are gonna be the elements involved in some of your formulas. What happens if things go off track when you’re working with your project? So, all of a sudden, you’re using earned value analysis, or just some piece of paper and a pencil to draw it, however you draw things. Or, keep track on some sorta spreadsheet or something to find out how you’re doing with everything. And you find out that the project is going off track. First, check the targets to make sure they were ever realistic to begin with. Look at the strategy, how are we actually doing this? Are we using the right strategy for this? Are our estimates correct? Reporting. Are we getting the right numbers from project team? Maybe we don’t have the right numbers from the project team. Human element is the last thing to take a look at. Typically we find out that 85 to 90% of the problems we’re gonna run across on the project or some sorta system issues. Something wrong with what happened in planning or something. And only 10% are gonna be because of the project team. Your team, the organization, the customer, other stakeholders, it’s gonna be a small element in all of this. Do something to fix this, monitor the project, evaluate what’s happening. And we’re gonna step in and control this things somehow. So that we can get this thing done and completed. Done and completed. And successfully. And, again, what do we have to work with? Crash the project, fast track the project, reduce the scope. Or as a last resort, you could reduce the quality. It all goes back to the S, Q, C, T targets and the strategy. Lower the quality as a last resort. Reduce the scope. Increase the budget. Develop a new strategy. Replace team members. Anything else that you can think of. Remember, replacing team members, that’s one of the very last things to look at. That’s hardly ever the problem. If expectations change along the way, and they probably will, a few things you can do. Refocus the customer back on the agreements that you made up front, we already had these discussions and we agreed that this is what we’re going to do in the project. Adjust the project scope with some kind of a change order. Redefine the project. You can come up with new S, Q, C, T targets, just go back to the beginning and redefine this thing. Come up with a new strategy for doing this.

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