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What Is Project Control and Why Is It Vital?

Photo by Igor Karimov

“Time is money” sounds like an old cliché, but when it comes to business — time really is money. And do you know what’s the easiest way to save both your time and money? It is by ensuring infallible project control.

So, let’s talk about control in project management in this article and look at how it can help your company succeed.

What Is Project Control?

Control is an essential component of project management and must be carried out at every single stage in the course of your work.

According to the PMBOK® Guide, project control entails comparing the actual performance with the planned performance so corrective measures can be undertaken if there is a mismatch between the two.

All in all, effective project control is about the gathering and analysis of information that helps project managers choose and implement effective methods for keeping their projects on the right track.

Project Control Processes and Tasks

A project controller is expected to find trends, forecast outcomes, and report on progress.

Project control can include tasks such as:

  • Aligning projects with organization goals and objectives
  • Developing a work breakdown structure (WBS)
  • Keeping track of project schedules
  • Developing a risk management plan
  • Project budgeting and forecasting
  • Monitoring the cost of the project
  • Feedback and reporting

While a project manager directs a team given a project, a project controller advises the team and the project manager of potential cost and schedule issues and correction plans.

Why Does Your Team Need Project Control?

Project control allows you to stick to your plan. Hence, it helps you to save money and time.

Here’s how:

Let’s assume that your company works on a $100,000 project. The project is expected to last six months. The plan is to spend only half of the budget while completing 50% of the work within three months.

The project controller calculates the actual amount of work that was completed and the budget spent against what was initially planned. If your project is falling behind, you will have to implement corrective measures. That often means asking employees to work after hours or employing additional staff.

If it wasn’t for project control, the project could go over the schedule or budget or get stuck due to a lack of funds.

Factors That Affect Project Control

Even a basic project can be affected by several factors that can lower the chances of successful completion. In project management control, the following factors need to be taken into consideration:

Factor 1: Risk

Risk control is essential no matter what profession you’re in. Whether you build a play park for children or manage an SEO campaign for a client, there’s always a potential risk. Identifying and managing risk is essential if you want to achieve the set project goals.

Depending on the industry, common risks include data security, communication issues, delays, employees getting sick or resigning, unplanned tasks, material loss, challenging weather conditions, or difficulties in finding components needed for the project.

A risk register can be a helpful tool for a project controller. That should show you any potential risks with instructions on managing them accordingly.

Factor 2: Cost

A project controller monitors the project’s expenses and its performance. The budget that is being spent has to be under control constantly. In case of a cost overrun, a management plan will help you take the right actions to bring down the project’s overall cost.

It’s a good idea to note all the reasons that make your project exceed the budget.

Say, for example, your team is building a landing page for an important client. Your graphic designers are busy with other ongoing projects, so you decide to hire a freelance graphic designer to create a logo and retouch the images.

The freelance designer took more time than expected to provide the images. The images had to be fixed by your in-house designers anyway. Now that you are aware of the extra cost, you can decide to hire another in-house graphic designer to work with the team on the succeeding projects. Having an additional graphic designer in your team means you can train them according to your standards and hold them directly accountable for their output.

Factor 3: Deadlines

Project control lets you monitor performance based on agreed-upon deadlines. A project controller should produce a report once or twice a month for the project stakeholders, who need to be informed of the project’s progress.

Tracking all of your project work in one place will help you stay on track to meet the deadline. So, if the project is not going as planned, you can quickly highlight the causes and address them. Write a quick meeting request email and inform the stakeholders about the situation so everyone is on the same page.

Factor 4: Scope

Controlling the scope of your project is essential to submitting your project deliverables on time, within the budget, and without overworking your employees.

Scope control helps you keep the team focused on the initial goal. Without scope control, your team might end up taking on more work than they can. As a result, delays or overwork will be unavoidable.

As an example, say you work in an IT department for a big company and manage the development of a new app for the company. Halfway through the project, you find out that content on your website requires significant changes to stay aligned with the new app. Your team could do it, but it would mean severe delays in your project. So, in this case, you should stay focused on your initial project and treat your website changes as a separate project instead.

In Closing

Project control is critical to the success of your project. It helps you learn about the causes of project delay and the solutions you need to implement to keep the project within the budget and on track to meet the deadline.

In other words, with project control, you can make critical decisions that can help your business succeed.

So, the next time you take on a project, don’t just work towards its completion. Monitor your team’s progress and ensure sufficient control in project management. Do this right, and you’ll meet your project goals for sure.

Good luck!




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