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Syllabus H. Innovation, Performance Excellence & Change Management H7. Leading And Managing Projects

H7g. Monitoring the Project

Project management

Ensuring the goals of the project are achieved:

  • on time

  • within budget

  • to the required quality

We now know the project manager's tasks but remember she also has to understand which tasks cannot begin until others have been completed, and which tasks can be carried on at the same time.

After planning, comes the controlling and monitoring of the project

This involves keeping things on schedule and there dealing with any slippages in time or cost over-runs

  • Scope management

    • The risk is that project specification is not reached, so this involves breaking down the total project into individual tasks

      ‘Scope creep’ happens when during the course of the project, uncontrolled scope changes are made to the it takes longer and costs more than necessary to complete.

  • Time management

    • Non time-critical task can be delayed, so special attention is paid to those time critical ones

      Another problem is that all time planning is based on estimates

      As mentioned above, the project manager needs to identify the inter-dependencies between certain tasks. 

      Which have to be done before others and which can be done in parallel

      This is called critical path analysis or network analysis

  • Monitoring completion times: slippage

    A CPA chart can be used by the project manager to:

    1. Ensure time-critical activities are being completed on schedule

    2. Calculate maximum delays possible for none-time critical task

    3. See when slippage has occurred and allocate extra resources if necessary

  • Cost management

    The expected financial returns might be expressed in terms of net present value (NPV) and payback, or internal rate of return on investment (IRR).

    However, costs need to stay within budget, for these returns to materialise

    Standard costing techniques will be used to analyse the difference between budgeted and actual costs. 

    The difference will be caused by either:

    • actual spending is higher than planned

    • the amount of work done is more or less than budgeted.

  • These are expenditure variances and volume variances.

Project Gateways

  • These are review points for critical points in the project. 

    They ensure the business case remains valid

    At each project gateway - If there are problems then control measures and corrective action will be necessary (or stop if severely off course)

    Normally carried out by someone not involved in the project

A Product Breakdown Structure

  • This looks at the physical components of a particular product. It comes in the form of a hierarchy.

    It begins with the final product at the top of the hierarchy followed by the sub-categorised elements of the product.
    It reduces a complex project, or product, into manageable components.

    As a result, teams can obtain a clear understanding of a product, its components, and what is required to provide those components

  • Threat Identification

    This will obviously reduce the risk of slippage and other problems

  • Threat Prevention

Threat Prevention
Poor management or planning or controls Training managers, no critical projects until proved themselves
Poor Planning Use proper planning methods
Poor Controls Set out in advance
Unrealistic deadline Ensure no slippage and change deadlines
Insufficient budgets Do a smaller project properly
Moving targets Structured walkthroughs and prototyping

Corrective action examples

  1. Fast tracking - doing some phases in parallel (instead of in sequence)

  2. Crashing - reducing the time available on critical aspects while minimising the cost of doing so

  3. Adding resources

  4. Reducing scope or quality

  5. Incentives and punishments