Projects begin and end by definition. For many of us, it is about applying the concepts and best practices we learned throughout our experience as project stakeholders. Each of us starts out differently on projects. Some may initiate, some may close, perhaps planning is your forte or execution is where the action happens.
The project environment is such an exciting place to be, especially if your company supports and recognizes the value add of project management. For me it is monitoring and controls where I have captured the most valuable project experience. As a Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) Project Controller (PC) for the Landsat Data Continuity Contract (LDCC) it is my role to administer earned value, monitor and control project scope, schedule, and budget, and integrate change control in accordance to the project management plan and contract. LDCC is a development project that is a part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). Provided is the LDCM website link for more information on LDCM (http://ldcm.gsfc.nasa.gov/ ).
The monitoring and controls process group is an over arching process that lasts for the entire project as represented in the line chart to the right. Before monitoring or controlling anything on a project, we must capture scope, derive requirements, develop a schedule, derive costs components, understand team dynamics, think of reporting requirements, inventory resources, be ever watchful for potential risks, and most importantly account for contract deliverables. It is then that we encompass the monitoring and controls process group around the other process groups as represented below.
Some of the best experience I received was during the development of our Resource Loaded Network (RLN) and Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) development. The RLN helped us to identify our critical path and the associated impact of external dependencies (risk) on the project.
The RLN is just one component of the PMB. A PMB is comprised of a scope (technical) baseline, a schedule (RLN) baseline, and a cost (budget) baseline. An Earned Value Management System (EVMS) is used as a monitoring and controls tool to evaluate project performance and generate forecasts. EVMS is a whole other subject that could be expanded upon.? [Editor note:? For more on EVMS basics, see this series of posts.]
Monitoring and controls is a process group that is associated with all aspects of the project. Delivering quality results is the primary goal of a project and we owe that to our clients. It is my job to serve and assist the project stakeholders by measuring project performance on a regular basis to ensure success and in order to generate accurate forecasts. A proper monitor and controls system must be cognizant of past performance, but the emphasis is in a forward direction. My main goal is to apply the correct balance of monitoring and controls on the project so the whole team wins.