How to Steer a Project in the Right Direction

Alenka Aust

Project management, project leadership, project control. What is the difference? Is there one? In everyday language these terms are easily confused. The professional knows the difference, of course, and experienced project managers pay special attention to project control. It maintains the direction and leads as straight a path as possible to the achievement of goals. In project control, projects are planned, monitored and even managed.

In this blog we’ll present you with a small guide that gives you some essential hints on how to analyze and capture data efficiently. You will learn more about the main benefits, and components of project controls and tips on how to implement them. Keep control of your ROI and put your profit in an improved balance in relation to your effort.

What is project control?

Basically, control means implementing the project plan as accurately as possible.

Specific tasks to control within a project may include, for example.

  • Starting and finishing work packages
  • Changing the project plan to achieve the original project goal
  • Requesting additional resources and funding
  • Internal acceptance or rejection of project deliverables

Project controls, then, are a set of processes that ensure that large projects overcome common obstacles and successfully reach their destination. These obstacles include, for example:

  • Inaccurate forecasts
  • Poor resource allocation
  • Unrealistic schedule optimism
  • Insufficient data to make informed decisions

Project controls vary from company to company and project to project, but when building the general framework, they can be reduced to three action words: Plan, Monitor and Analyze.

Why is project control important?

Let’s look at the lifeline for large, medium and small companies. It is the same for all, project planning or project control.

Both functions are scalable and provide a project manager with a constant number of processes. Each project can thus be constantly subdivided into phases, tasks and subtasks. Unlike other project management methods, project control takes a focused approach to getting things done. For example, typical project management categories such as personnel or quality control do not play a role in most project controls.

So the biggest difference between project management and project controls is that project management takes a holistic, detailed approach, while project controls look at resources and schedules as primary factors in project success.

What are the key components of project controls?

There are five key components of project control, each of which is a separate process. Here we show you how to use Allex to manage each one:

  • Planning: create custom projects to manage plans and task scheduling so nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Risk: Design and use risk scenario planning that removes obstacles before they even arise.
  • Unforeseen change: Use a visual tool like a digital network diagram to track delays, status updates, and reassignments to ensure the project reaches the finish line, no matter what is thrown your way.
  • Estimates: Monitor and forecast key project components such as resource management and scheduling.
  • Communication: communicate with team members in real time to keep everyone in the loop without missing anything.

How and when should you use project controls?

Project control should be used at the beginning of a project when you are gathering resources. It must be fully developed by the time you start project forecasting.

To implement your own system, start with a project management tool, for example Allex, and create a project for each of the components listed above. Gather all necessary project documentation, create a plan for how you will monitor progress, and compare historical data to your current models.  Finally, get everyone on board by using visual tools like those offered in Allex to make this complex information easier to understand. Visualizations like network diagrams, timelines, and something as simple as adding photos to the names assigned to tasks can help eliminate unnecessary confusion.

What are the benefits of project control?

In fact, project control is widely recognized as an insider’s tip used by smart project managers to achieve results like the following:

  • On-time delivery
  • Better forecasting
  • Increased visibility
  • Increased job satisfaction within the team
  • Practical elimination of project scope creep

Master project control with an indispensable tool

To get the exact benefits of project control, you need a reliable project management tool that brings your new methods to life. That’s where Allex comes in. Try our two-week free trial to create custom projects that provide detailed project monitoring to keep you on track at every stage of your project.