Project controls professionals work tirelessly to deliver their projects on-time and within budget. We believe that there are five core project controls that are elements required for the successful delivery of a project or program: Work breakdown structure (WBS) generation and management, estimation, scheduling, cost management and change management. These five elements are further described in the new White Paper: 5 Pillars of Project Controls.
- WBS Generation and Management: Managing the generation and governance of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for each project is fundamental to the consistent and successful delivery of projects. As an organization sets out to mature its approach to project management and project controls, there is the realization that the WBS is an asset and needs to be treated as such.
- Estimation: The estimation process must be transparent, robust and fit for purposes across the entire life cycle of the project. Many applications exist to support the estimation process. The flexibility and fidelity of modern toolsets allow the organization to work towards common estimation approaches, share and apply universal norms, and agree on the basis of estimates.
- Schedule: The generation of the project schedule needs to follow the WBS asset rules but must not be overly constrained. This can be achieved by understanding the appropriate level of the WBS structure required to provide the correct granularity in resource and activity definition to support accounting, reporting, and governance.
- Cost Management: Cost management is fundamental to controlling the project once underway. It is within this capability that cost and schedule naturally come together to generate time-phased project information. Working at the prescribed granularity that supports data exchange with ERP, the cost and schedule information are merged into control accounts that enable the organization to control the expenditure of resources against an agreed baseline. If change management is also incorporated into the cost management functionality, then cost management can become the project’s single point of truth taking account of both changes to the project scope and the actual resource usage.
- Change Management: Once the project has started, the only constant is change. If an organization fails to effectively manage changes then they are unlikely to complete the project according to the initially forecasted parameters. Successful change management is key to good project governance. The keeping of accurate, clear and auditable records of change that drive the current approved budget should be embedded into the organization as early as possible.
This white paper explores the fundamental elements required to deliver a mature, effective and robust project controls capability. The aim of every project controls team should be the delivery of actionable information, at the right time, in the correctly contextualized, appropriate format. This information is the basis for decision making and is critical for all types of projects or programs regardless of size and complexity.