Introduction

Project management connects projects, processes and all associated activities together. There are a variety of activities associated with project management, and they are categorized into five major processes: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing. We will be discussing the fourth domain, Monitoring and Controlling Process, which covers 25% of the PMP exam.

Monitoring and Controlling

In the life cycle of any project, all events ought to be tightly controlled and validated. The controlling of the events can be performed by observing the preliminary protocols: for example, planning, quality checks and communication. The project manager should utilize specific and significant measurements if certain cases are not enclosed by these protocols, although validation is a subsidiary activity that starts from day one and continues to the end of the project.

Every activity falls under different criteria of validation. Monitoring and control activities generally adjoin with execution activities due to their simultaneous occurrence. Teams who execute the project plan should consistently monitor their progress. The following areas should also be monitored and adjusted on timely basis:

  • Reporting:  A matrix to measure progress and deliver the information
  • Scope: Monitoring scope and controlling changes
  • Quality: Measurement of the quality deliverables, ensuring the target of meeting or improving the quality.
  • Schedule: Keep the track of all delays that may affect the timeline of the project and adjust to stay on track
  • Cost: Expense monitoring and controlling changes in cost
  • Risk: Monitoring risks and mitigating its consequences

The performance reports results that are derived at the execution process are used to discover if any deviation from the actual plan exists. At the controlling stage, the corrective actions are being taken to improve such deviations.

Tasks

Task Monitoring and Controlling – 25%
1 Measure project performance using appropriate tools and techniques in order to identify and quantify any variances and corrective actions
2 Manage changes to the project by following the change management plan in order to ensure that project goals remain aligned with business needs
3 Verify that project deliverables conform to the quality standards established in the quality management plan by using appropriate tools and techniques to meet project requirements and business needs
4 Monitor and assess risk by determining whether exposure has changed and evaluate the effectiveness of response strategies in order to manage the impact of risks and opportunities on the project
5 Review the issue log, update if necessary and determine corrective actions by using appropriate tools and techniques in order to minimize the impact on the project
6 Capture, analyze and manage lessons learned, using lessons learned management techniques in order to enable continuous improvement
7 Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan in order to verify compliance with project objectives

Knowledge and Skills

  • Performance measurement and tracking techniques (e.g., EV, CPM, PERT, Trend Analysis)
  • Process analysis techniques (e.g., LEAN, Kanban, Six Sigma)
  • Project control limits (e.g., thresholds, tolerance)
  • Project finance principles
  • Project monitoring tools and techniques
  • Project quality best practices and standards (e.g., ISO, BS, CMMI, IEEE)
  • Quality measurement tools (e.g., statistical sampling, control charts, flowcharting, inspection, assessment)
  • Risk identification and analysis techniques
  • Risk response techniques
  • Quality validation and verification techniques

The Monitoring and Controlling Group Core Tasks

 

  • Project Performance: Measurement of the performance is important to ensure if the project is going in the right direction. Costing will provide an indication if the intended budget is adequate for the completion of the project. Scheduling will give a sign if the planned schedules and dates could be achieved.
  • Change Management: Change is inevitable in any project. However, preventive measures are important to mitigate the consequences of the change or are implemented in a combined manner. Proper implementation of change can reduce its impacts. This process can approve or disapprove the changes, if required. The Change Control Board evaluates all the changes happening in a project.
  • Manage Deliverables: If the change is approved, stakeholders have the full right to be notified. Configuration of the different parts and modules is another deliverable, which is significant for the healthy progression of the project. Forecasting project helps in assessing and managing project progress. This helps in making the final project performance reports, which are sent to relevant stakeholders.
  • Risk Monitoring/Assessment: Risk can have a drastic effect on a project; therefore, it is important to draft and document each anticipated risk and response strategy.
  • Procurement Activities: Changes are managed by revising agreement, ensuring appropriate payments to the vendors and coordinating work between vendors and the project. Administration of purchasing, leasing or outsourcing of tool, equipment and resource is part of the Monitoring and Controlling process. Project success depends on the proper implementation of these activities.

Areas of Study

  • Manage and Control Integration: Integration means coordination between all of the knowledge areas and making sure that each element of project management is utilized at the right time. Hence, monitoring tracks the project as whole and manages changes in it. The two main aspects to focus in this area are monitoring and controlling the project work and performing integrated change control in project work.
  • Manage and Control Scope: Monitoring and controlling helps in this by comparing the scope and harmonizing with the scope discussed with the stakeholders. The change in scope can only be corrected or handled when the new element or feature is added with the approval of stakeholders. Once these are added, the budget and schedules are changed formally. Tasks to focus while studying this area are: Validate and Control Scope.
  • Manage and Control Time: The monitoring and control process verifies schedules to find out the status of the project, factors which are causing changes, and determining and managing changes. While monitoring time, schedule change is calculated and then the lag is noted. In the controlling part, more resources are generally on boarded. Key tasks are: Schedule Changes, Leads and Lags, and Monte Carlo Analysis.
  • Manage and Control Cost: Cost management is a significant factor for every organization. Monitoring and Controlling monitors the budget of the project. Corrective actions must be taken in case of any deviation from the budgeted cost. This ensures that merely apt change is included, and stakeholders are notified. Tasks include: Control costs; TcPI, Analogous Estimating, Parametric Estimating, Magnitude Estimates and Reserve Analysis.   
  • Manage and Control Quality: Quality deliverables are essential to get customer satisfaction and build organization reputation. The product or service quality is evaluated as specified in the requirements. These requirements consist of processes and goals. Quality of deliverables can be controlled by performing few important techniques such as: Cause-and-Effect diagrams, Pareto charts, histograms, run charts, scatter diagrams, control charts and use of 7, Special and common causes, and tolerance and control limits.
  • Manage and Control Communications: Communication bridges the gap between expectation and understanding of the deliverables and ensure they are same. The role of this area is ensuring an optimum flow of information in the project. Controlling of communications contains certain important areas to study, such as formal and informal communication control and the channels formula.
  • Manage and Control Risks: Controlling risk involves constant monitoring of identified outstanding risks and finding new ones along with evaluation of effectiveness of risk mitigation. The changes, along with the newly-identified risks, are well-structured and documented with their mitigation plan. This process includes reassessment of risks, audits, performance measurements, reserve analysis and risk reviews.
  • Manage and Control Procurements: Procurement management focuses on the agreements with vendors. The Monitoring and Control process group involves periodic reviews of performance and then comparing the same planned and contractual provisions.
  • Manage and Control Stakeholders: Stakeholders’ expectations are supposed to be matched with the project progress. In case of any change or discrepancies, stakeholders have full authority to be aware of this and new proposed modifications. Stakeholder analysis, stakeholders’ interest and power are key topics to study in this process.

 

Conclusion

PMP connects all project activities and events together and harmonizes the project. Hence, the project management process team is required to have in-depth understanding of each process and tools. It requires time, knowledge and skills to perform the tasks efficiently. Thus, any project must have a dedicated person who is handling it: the project manager.

It is the responsibility of every project manager to handle the project throughout all the five steps stated earlier: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling and Closure. Monitoring and Controlling is only one part of the process, but it is an important one.

 

Sources

Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam Content Outline, PMI

3.6 Monitoring and Controlling Process Group, O’Reilly

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group of PMBOK, PMChamp

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Sumit
Bhattacharya

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Sumit
Bhattacharya

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