The challenge of... planning & controlling projects

Projects are a vital way in which organisations make things happen. Successful projects can thus have a huge impact on how quickly and effectively organisations achieve their goals and create value for their stakeholders. Managing projects successfully requires, amongst other things, skillful planning, scheduling, monitoring and controlling.

Organisations often articulate their approach to this challenge as…

  • project controls
  • achieving project success
  • effective project management
  • managing projects
  • executing projects
  • project management activities
  • project methodologies
  • project planning process
  • managing projects
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Defining a stakeholder

“Planning determines what is to be delivered, how much it will cost, when it will be delivered, how it will be delivered and who will carry it out.” (APM Body of Knowledge)

“Project controls are the data gathering, management and analytical processes used to predict, understand and constructively influence the time and cost outcomes of a project or program; through the communication of information in formats that assist effective management and decision making.” (Project Management Body of Knowledge – PMBOK)

“Comparing actual performance with planned performance, analysing variances, assessing trends to effect process improvements, evaluating possible alternatives, and recommending appropriate corrective action as needed.” (PMI PMBOK)

Examples of stakeholders
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • PERT and Critical Path Analysis / Critical path Method
  • Gantt/bar charts; Task Management
  • Resource planning & Resource allocation
  • Contingencies & Contingency planning
  • Earned Value Management (EVM)
  • Risk analysis and Risk management
  • Quality management
  • Budgeting and cashflow; Cost management

Real world challenges

Prendo’s customers face many challenging situations when planning & controlling projects:

The project controls function is sometimes perceived as being unhelpful to the project management function
We get tonnes of earned value data but we are not always sure how to use it
We understand the how of project controls, but not always the why
Too much of our project controls information is in the PM software, and is not always visible or accessible to those that need it, when they need it!
Filling out the EVM and project status reports is often just a necessary task, as opposed to something that anyone actually finds useful
Not everyone in our PM community understands the value of the project controls function

Advanced simulations can help leaders address these real world challenges

At Prendo, we believe that the complex skills and deep understanding that are needed for planning & controlling projects are best developed with advanced simulations that provide accelerated experiential learning and the opportunity to explore the underlying cause and effect models.

Talk to us to understand if our simulations can address your specific challenges

Learning to plan & control projects

To address the challenge of planning & controlling projects, project managers need a combination of skills (know-how) and understanding (know-that), in the same way that the driving test combines the practical and the theory:

project managers need to be able to…

  • apply scheduling techniques: gantt charts, critical path analysis, logical flow
  • make resourcing decisions
  • monitor task progress continuously in order to inform ongoing decision making
  • deal with unexpected changes and slippage
  • apply budgeting and cashflow management techniques
  • calculate and understand the meaning of earned value numbers and ratios
  • communicate with key project stakeholders
  • judge time-cost-quality trade-offs
  • manage risks and uncertainty

project managers need to understand…

  • what the project controls (e.g. earned value) data says about the status of the project
  • what data is required in order to make better decisions

Plan & control projects more effectively
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