Controlling

Regardless of the thoroughness of a plan, exercising control is absolutely necessary to bring a KM project to a successful conclusion. Controlling involves performing these four fundamental actions:

1. Status collection and assessment

2. Tracking and monitoring

3. Contingency planning

4. Replanning

Status Collection and Assessment Having a plan in place is one thing; executing it efficiently and effectively is another. Status collection is gathering data on cost, schedule, and quality and then transforming that data into information — that is, something meaningful. The information is then used to assess progress to date vis-à-vis the plan. The key activities for assessing performance are identifying and evaluating variance. Variance is the difference between what should happen up to a point in time and what has actually occurred. A negative assessment is typically one that misses a key schedule date or cost target; a positive assessment is meeting a key schedule or cost target.

For KM projects, status and assessment are critical. The ambiguity of project goals requires keeping a pulse on performance by raising two key questions: where are we and are we going in the right direction? Answering these two questions will decrease the likelihood of having a runaway project.

Tracking and Monitoring Good status collection and assessment require looking at the past and anticipating the future. Tracking is looking at past performance; that is, what has occurred. Monitoring is looking into the future using the past. Both tracking and monitoring provide the link between the past and future to understand how well the project is progressing. Both, closely intertwined with status collection and assessment, are very important for KM projects because they help answer two more fundamental questions: where have we been and where are we heading?

Contingency Planning Good risk management requires good contingency planning; that is, developing ways to respond to specific scenarios. Contingency plans offer several advantages, to include responding in a proactive rather reactive way to a given situation, furthering progress according to plan, and instilling in team members a confidence in the eventual success of the project. Obviously, not all scenarios can be identified in advance and under certain circumstances that can require the next activity — replanning.

Replanning Sometimes, nothing can be done other than to replan the project. That requires developing a new SOW, WBS, estimates, schedules, and reorganization. A severe budget cut or a technological snafu may require overhauling everything. The best contingency planning in the world will not make a difference. Replanning, however, should not occur unless absolutely necessary because it may mean a large loss in investment of time, money, and energy. As a project moves down its life cycle, the losses become larger.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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