Any project aimed at delivering a product or a service has to go through phases in a planned manner in order to meet the requirements. It is very important to measure the performance of the current status of the project at anytime against its planned version. This helps to tackle any unexpected deviation in time, efforts and cost. It is possible to work according to the project plan only by careful and close monitoring of the project progress.
It requires establishing control factors to keep the project on the track of progress. The results of any stage in a project, depends on the inputs to that stage. It is therefore necessary to control all the inputs and the corresponding outputs from a stage. This is achieved through devising proper controls for every stage.
A project manager may use certain standard tools to keep the project on track. The project manager and the team members should be fully aware of the techniques and methods to rectify the factors influencing delay of the project and its product. It is important for all stakeholders to know the impact of the changes in any parameters to the overall project. The various steps involved in monitoring and controlling a project from start to end are given below:
- Preliminary work: The team members understand the project plans, project stage schedule, progress controls, tracking schedules, summary of the stage cost and related worksheets. All the members have to understand the tolerances in any change and maintain a change control log. They must realize the need and importance of quality for which they have to strictly follow a quality review schedule and frequently discuss the quality agendas. They must understand the stage status reports, stage end reports, stage end approval reports.
- Project Progress: The members must keep a track of the project progress and communicate the same to other related members of the project. They must monitor and control project progress, through the use of regular check points, quality charts, and statistical tables; control the quality factors which are likely to deviate from expected values as any deviation may result in changes to the stage schedule. The project manager ensures that these changes are made smoothly and organizes review meeting with the project management group. Thus all the members are aware about the progress of the project at all times. This helps them to plan well in advance for any exigency arising due to deviation from planned schedule.
- Stage Control: The manager must establish a project check point cycle. For this, a suitable stage version control procedures may be followed. The details are to be documented stage wise. Project files have to be timely updated with appropriate version control number and revision status should be maintained for each change. Team members are identified who will exercise controls at various points of the project.
- Resources: Plan the resources required for various stage of the project well in advance. Communication is the key. Brief both the project team and the key resources about the objectives of every stage, planned activities, products, organization, metrics and the project controls. This increases the visibility into the project performance and hence a quality control can be achieved. Allocating a right resource at the right place and the right time will significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the resource.
- Quality Control: This is very important in any project. It is a tool which helps in tracking the progress of various parameters at any stage of the project. A project manager may use a standard quality control or customize according to the requirements. Quality control is possible if the project members follow the quality charts and norms very strictly. It is also important for all the project team members to know the importance of such quality checks and should have a good visibility into project performance.
- Schedule Quality Review: Conduct quality reviews at regular intervals. It is recommended that quality review be scheduled at the beginning of the stage and also at the ending of every stage. This helps the project manager and team members to plan well in advance for any unforeseen deviation.
- Agenda for Quality Review: Create and distribute a quality review agenda specifying the objective, products, logistics, roles, responsibilities and time frame. This increases the effectiveness of the review and also reduces the time gap.
- Conduct Quality Review: Conduct the quality review in a structured and formal manner. Quality review should focus on product development and its quality factors. Focus on whether it meets the prescribed quality standard.
- Follow Up: Revise the complete quality review product status from ‘In-progress’ to ‘QR Complete’. Follow up the actions planned in strict manner which ensures conformity to the standards.
Credit: Project Management Basics-MGU