At this point, you have put considerable effort into building and getting approval for a project plan that describes in great detail how you will accomplish the goal of the project. The project work has begun, and you want to make sure that it is progressing as planned. To do this, you will institute a number of reports that are designed to tell exactly how well the project is doing with respect to the plan and how to correct variances from this plan. The first question to consider is the extent to which you want to maintain control through the reports you require.
Chapter Learning Objectives (continued)
♦ Determine the appropriate corrective actions to restore a project to its planned schedule
♦ Use Gantt charts to track progress and identify warning signs of schedule problems
♦ Understand the change control process
♦ Reallocate resources to maintain the project schedule
♦ Report project status with graphical tools
♦ Establish trend charts for early warning signals
♦ Properly identify corrective measures and problem escalation strategies
The project plan is a system. As such, it can get out of balance, and a get-well plan must be put in place to restore the system to equilibrium. The longer the project manager waits to put the fix in place, the longer it will take for the system to return to equilibrium. The controls are designed to discover out-of-balance situations early and put get-well plans in place quickly.
You can use a variety of reports as control tools. Most can be used in numeric and tabular form, but we suggest using graphics wherever possible. A well-done graphic will be intuitive. It will not require a lengthy explanation and certainly doesn't require a lot of reading. Be cognizant of the fact that senior managers just don't have a lot of time to dwell on your report. Give them what they need as succinctly as possible. Graphics are particularly effective as part of your status report to management. Senior managers generally aren't interested in reading long reports only to find out that everything is on schedule. While they will be pleased that your project is on track, their time could have been spent on other pursuits that require their attention. If projects are not on schedule, they want to know so right away and see what corrective action you plan to take.
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.