Mechanisms of control
Mechanisms of control in project management refer to the processes, tools and techniques used to monitor, measure and regulate the progress of a project. This includes the monitoring of performance, cost, risk, quality and progress against the project objectives. The various control mechanisms include earned value analysis, progress tracking, critical path analysis, creating checkpoints, scheduling, and project performance reviews. All of these mechanisms allow the project manager to ensure that the project is on track and that the objectives are being achieved effectively.
Example of mechanisms of control
- Earned Value Analysis: Earned value analysis (EVA) is a project management technique used to measure and analyze the performance of a project. It allows project managers to track the performance of a project in terms of the cost, schedule, and scope. EVA allows them to compare the actual performance of the project against the planned performance and to identify any areas of deviation. It also helps in predicting the remaining duration and cost of the project, as well as in forecasting the eventual cost of the project.
- Progress Tracking: Progress tracking is a mechanism used to track the progress of a project against its objectives. It involves monitoring the progress of each task, milestone and deliverable in the project. Progress tracking helps project managers identify the areas of success and failure, and take corrective actions to keep the project on track.
- Critical Path Analysis: Critical path analysis (CPA) is a project management technique used to analyze the activities and tasks of a project. It helps to identify the sequence of tasks that must be completed in order to meet the project objectives. CPA also helps to identify the tasks that are critical for the completion of the project, as well as those that can be delayed without impacting the overall timeline of the project.
- Creating Checkpoints: Creating checkpoints is a mechanism used to monitor the progress of a project. Checkpoints are specific points in the project timeline where the progress of the project is monitored and evaluated. They help project managers identify the areas of success and failure, and take corrective actions to keep the project on track.
- Scheduling: Scheduling is a project management technique used to plan and manage the activities and tasks of a project. It involves creating a timeline of activities and tasks, and assigning resources to them accordingly. Scheduling helps to keep the project on track and ensure that the objectives are achieved on time.
- Project Performance Reviews: Project performance reviews are a mechanism used to evaluate the progress of a project. They involve assessing the performance of the project against the agreed objectives, and identifying areas of success and failure. Performance reviews help project managers identify any issues or risks that could impact the successful completion of the project.
Best practices of mechanisms of control
- Establish Clear Objectives: Establishing clear and measurable objectives for the project is essential for successful project control. These objectives should be outlined in the project charter, and communicated to all stakeholders.
- Develop a Project Plan: Developing a detailed project plan that outlines all of the tasks, dependencies, and resource requirements is essential for successful project control. The plan should include a timeline, milestones, and schedules to ensure that tasks are completed on time.
- Monitor Progress: Regularly monitoring progress against the project plan is important for successful project control. Regular review meetings with stakeholders should be held to ensure that the project is on track.
- Use Milestones: Setting and tracking milestones helps to ensure that the project is progressing according to plan. Milestones should be set at regular intervals to assess the progress of the project and to identify any areas where corrective action may be needed.
- Implement Risk Management: Risk management is essential for successful project control. Risk management processes should be in place to identify, assess, and manage risks associated with the project.
- Identify and Resolve Issues: Regularly identifying and resolving issues that arise during the project is important for successful project control. Issues should be identified early and corrective action should be taken to resolve them.
- Measure and Analyze Performance: Regularly measuring and analyzing performance against the project objectives is essential for successful project control. Tools such as earned value analysis, critical path analysis, and progress tracking should be used to measure progress and identify areas for improvement.
- Perform Quality Assurance: Quality assurance is essential for successful project control. Quality assurance processes should be in place to ensure that the deliverables meet the required standards.
- Adapt to Change: The project environment is constantly changing and the project manager must be able to adapt to these changes in order to ensure successful project control. The project manager should be able to recognize changes in the environment and take proactive measures to address them.
When to use mechanisms of control
Mechanisms of control should be used throughout the life of the project, from initiation to completion. This ensures that the project objectives are met, that costs are managed and that risks are minimized. These control mechanisms include:
- Earned Value Analysis - This is a technique that compares how much of the project has been completed against the amount that has been planned, allowing the project manager to assess the project's performance.
- Progress Tracking - This involves regularly checking and recording the progress of the project against its objectives and milestones.
- Critical Path Analysis - This is a technique used to identify the tasks that must be completed in order for the project to meet its deadlines.
- Creating Checkpoints - This involves setting up checkpoints or milestones to ensure that the project is progressing as expected.
- Scheduling - This involves creating a timeline for the project and assigning timelines for each task.
- Project Performance Reviews - This involves regularly assessing the performance of the project and its individual tasks to ensure that the objectives are being met.
Advantages of mechanisms of control
Mechanisms of control in project management are important for ensuring that a project runs smoothly and achieves its desired objectives. The following are some of the advantages of utilizing such mechanisms of control:
- Earned value analysis provides a comprehensive view of the progress of a project and allows the project manager to quickly identify any discrepancies between the planned and actual performance.
- Progress tracking allows the project manager to monitor the progress of a project in real time, identify potential issues and take corrective action.
- Critical path analysis helps in determining the most efficient way to complete a project and can identify any potential delays.
- Creating checkpoints and scheduling provide structure to the project and help to ensure that tasks are completed on time.
- Project performance reviews allow the project manager to assess the overall performance of the project and make any necessary changes to ensure the successful completion of the project.
Limitations of mechanisms of control
Mechanisms of control in project management are important tools used to track, monitor and regulate the progress of a project. However, there are certain limitations of these control mechanisms, such as:
- Overreliance on a single mechanism can lead to inaccurate results, as no single mechanism can accurately measure all aspects of a project.
- Some of these control mechanisms require a high level of data accuracy, which can be difficult to achieve in complex projects.
- In some cases, the control mechanisms may not be tailored to the specific requirements of the project, leading to ineffective implementation.
- The implementation of mechanisms of control can be expensive, and may not be feasible for smaller projects.
- The use of mechanisms of control can often be time-consuming, as there is a need for detailed monitoring and analysis.
- The use of control mechanisms may lead to micromanagement, which can reduce the motivation and creativity of the project team.
In addition to the various control mechanisms used in project management, there are several other approaches related to controlling the progress of a project. These include:
- Risk management - This involves implementing processes to identify, analyze and manage potential risks throughout the project’s life cycle. This can include developing risk mitigation plans, setting contingency plans and ensuring that these plans are followed.
- Quality assurance - Quality assurance is a process of ensuring that the quality of the product is maintained throughout the development process. This involves setting quality standards, conducting inspections and testing, and implementing corrective actions when necessary.
- Change management - Change management is the process of managing changes that affect the project’s objectives, timeline, and budget. This includes identifying and analyzing changes, developing a plan to manage the change, and implementing the plan.
- Cost control - Cost control is the process of monitoring and controlling the cost of a project. This includes setting cost budgets, tracking expenditures, and controlling cost overruns.
In summary, mechanisms of control in project management are essential for ensuring the successful completion of a project. They include earned value analysis, progress tracking, critical path analysis, creating checkpoints, scheduling, and project performance reviews, as well as risk management, quality assurance, change management and cost control.
|Mechanisms of control — recommended articles
|Monitoring and control — Project monitoring and control — Measures of success — Organizational project management — Aspects of project management — Project implementation phase — Quality of planning — Plan and schedule — Status of the project
- Kirsch, L. S. (1997). Portfolios of control modes and IS project management. Information systems research, 8(3), 215-239.