Monitoring & Controlling TOOLS
This is an inspection report, very useful to monitor several areas of your project. It would be given to you, the Project Manager, from a Field Inspector, before the Review Meeting. You will integrate this information with other types of reports to get the whole picture.
This example specifically reports on Scope, Time, and Quality. Many Field reports include Safety, too.
From this single report we can determine:
1) We are ahead of Schedule
2) Quality is 1.3% failure rate
Schedule: There are 50 project days in the schedule. We have used up 24 days so far, which is 48% of the days used up. We have done 300 units out of 500. Of the 300 units done, 296 passed the quality test. The completed work is 296 out of 500 or 59%.
This means we completed 59% of the work in 48% of the time so we are ahead of schedule. This amount ahead of schedule can be predicted to the end. At the same rate of progress we will finish 9 days ahead of the planned schedule.
The rate of failures for Quality is 4 failures out of 300 units. As a percentage this is 1.3%. Your Quality Plan will say what is the acceptable rate, and let you know if 1.3 % is acceptable or not.
RUN / TREND CHART
In our project we were taking data from the Field Reports and graphing it every 6 days. By Day 24 the graph was as shown on the left.
We began to notice a divergence between the brown line and the blue line indicating our failure rate was increasing, and would be intolerable before the end of the project.
By Day 30 we were working very quickly (at 20 units a day) but the number passing inspection was not much better. In fact the failure rate had increased, shown as the increased gap between the brown line and the blue line.
At Day 30, we began corrective action consisting of additional training and more quality measurements. The daily output reduced, but these corrective measures had the desired effect. From this experience we found our best rate to be between 60 and 70 units per 6 day period. This rate was sufficient to finish on time.
TIP: For tighter control, we should have increased the frequency of monitoring as we implemented the corrective actions.
To keep your meetings organized and time-efficient you need a clear agenda. This can be a simple spreadsheet. The format may vary from one organization to another but the key components include:
Purpose for meeting
Date, time, and location
Invited persons list
Topics to be covered
Status update on Action Items
Look back at your Work Breakdown Structure to assist in setting up the agenda. In large projects it is better to deal with one topic at a time.
Issue the agenda several days ahead of the meeting so people can come prepared.
The counterpart of an agenda is the meeting minutes which documents what happened at the meeting and what decisions were made. Again a spreadsheet format can be most useful, and the key components include:
Purpose for meeting
Date, time, and location
Invited persons list
List of required Actions
Person responsible for each Action
Due date for completion of each Action
Date, time, location of next meeting
Just like you had review meetings during the Planning phase, you ,need to have progress review meetings during the Monitor and Control phase. These meetings are held to ensure that information is shared, understood, and evaluated. Principally there are 2 types of meetings found in the M&C phase; they are Decision Making and Information Sharing. As Professional Project Manager you need to make it clear to your team when you expect decision making, and when you are only giving/taking information.
Pre-schedule meetings and stick to the schedule. Participants can then plan ahead, you minimize the chance of meeting postponement, and you promote the philosophy of orderliness.
If this is your project's first review meeting, you will want to emphasize these points with your team:
Attendance is mandatory. The project cannot go forward without all required people in attendance. Video conferencing provides access to those who might find it difficult to attend in person.
Types of input reports and due dates. People, to whom reports are assigned, must get them submitted on time for meaningful review meetings.
Roles and Responsibilities: If these are not already clear, they need to be clarified at your first review meeting.
Risk Management. How Risks will be managed, including how newly identified risks will be dded to the Risk Register.
Change Management. How will request for change be handled.
A review of the Project Objective and the Project Goals. Ensure all attendees understand these for your your project.
Here is a handy checklist of topics for your first meeting:
Project Team Review Meetings:
Consider the right number of people to invite. Enough to move the project forward but not too many that it will bog down. Try to invite those who can speak on behalf of themselves and others to limit the number. If someone just needs to know the outcome of the meeting, they may prefer to only receive the minutes, instead of attending. As a guideline try less than 10 people.
Start and end on time. Set a good example. Just like your project, timing is important.
Come prepared. Again you set the example for your team.
Circulate documents well in advance of the meeting. Allow time for people to prepare themselves for your meeting.
Stick to the agenda. Keep participants on topic. If a topic needs more time or if a new topic arises you can book a special meeting to deal with that.
Documents to consider distributing before your review meetings include:
1. Status report
2. Recovery Plans for "off-track" activities
3. Contingency Plans for Risk Responses, should they occur
4. Staffing Plans
5. Updated Schedule in the form of a Gantt Chart
6. Updated Cost projections (Estimate at Completion)
7. Trade Off Matrix
8. Variation Reports
9. Change Requests
Executive Review Meetings:
A review meeting for executive management should be prepared by the project team and include the following:
Accomplishments. Promote your successes!
Activities and Milestones: Planned and completed
Updated Milestone Chart for Time report
Updated Estimate at Completion for Cost report
Identified Issues and Risks: Risk Responses
Recovery Plans for elements that are "off track"
Independent (Audit) Review Meetings
Many organizations commission independent oversight reviews to verify their M & C processes and augment their training. The independent reviewer audit's the project's processes, and current status of the project, as an effective method of evaluation and training.
An example of an independent review could include:
1. Reviewing the Project Management Team effectiveness.
2. Review the progress for conformance to the Project Management Plan. This
review may include looking at data management, effective use of Project
Management Tools, a peer review, and a structured walk-through
3. Providing a report of findings which clearly identifies any deficiencies or
problems discovered during the audit.
4. Working with the Project Manager to implement a plan for resolving
deficiencies or problems.
Here is a great conference paper with really good tips! You can copy or print this for your team.
Occasionally you may need to have more than Meeting Minutes to focus on the Activities and Tasks to be done. In these cases you should use an Action Plan.
Action Plans are a useful Correcting tool to help get your project back on track.
MORE MONITOR AND CONTROL TOOLS:
Really useful tips and tools for monitoring and controlling are linked below. Simply select the knowledge area of concern.
Monitor and Control STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
Monitor and Control SCOPE
Monitor and Control TIME
Monitor and Control COST
Monitor and Control QUALITY
Monitor and Control HUMAN RESOURCES
Monitor and Control PHYSICAL RESOURCES
Monitor and Control COMMUNICATIONS
Monitor and Control PROCUREMENT
Monitor and Control RISK