This is my last attempt to convince you that Project Management skills are essential. There is not a single professional career that would not benefit from the structure and discipline associated with being a capable Project Manager. I’ve noted that a proper launch is critical for the success of your project in addition to a strong project plan AND discussed the need to use the outputs from the launch in monitoring your project. While monitoring is a key element of project management, it is not the same thing as ensuring control during the execution of your project which is what this post is all about. Execution and Control is different from Monitoring:
Project Execution and Controls encourage people to perform according to your plan and not just report data. Please note:
- The Execution/Control Phase and the Monitoring Phase Happen Concurrently
- You are Monitoring Progress While Tasks Are Being Completed
- This requires feedback loops that show where you are and where the project need to be
Project control requires a closed-loop feedback process. Here is a perfect example:
I love this example, because it brings to life the value of a closed-loop process in a way that we can all understand and have most likely experienced.
As a project manager your job is to manage and motivate. Everything we do on a Project is Linked to the Critical Path. The Critical Path is the longest sequence of project plan tasks that, when you finish each on time, enables the project to be completed on schedule. Execution and Control Manages to the Critical Path.
The goal of Execution and Control is to take where we are up to now (Monitoring) and determine:
- If we can complete the project as originally planned
- What changes need to occur (course correction)
- What resources, if anything, do we need
- When will our Stakeholder’s get their project deliverables
Execution and Control Requires Constant Course Corrections.
- If we don’t adjust, we go from A to B to C. This is a longer path and more costly
- If we recalibrate often, we avoid a stop at B and go on a straighter path to C
There are two ways to get back on track without reducing scope. Method #1 = “Crashing”. Crashing adds resources and cost . . .
- Approving overtime
- Adding bodies to the team
- Paying More (Expediting)
. . . and it doesn’t always work. Method # 2 = “Fast Tracking”. Activities that would have been done in sequence are performed in parallel. Fast tracking only works if activities can be overlapped to shorten duration.
You should consider Technology to assist with Execution and Control. Automated tools ease the scheduling workload by:
- Creating project dashboards
- Carving out workloads
- Incorporating constraints
- Creating resource and activity durations
- Tracking exceptions
- Escalating issues
- Generating graphics
As a Project Manager you also need to motivate your team for success. There are two methods here too – either with Carrots (rewards for good results) or Sticks (negative consequences for poor results). Both motivate staff by creating actionable goals and desirable rewards for project success. Dangling the carrot is usually more effective in encouraging employees. Sticks are usually reserved for conduct that works against the team principles. Include both as part of your Project Charter.
Lastly, one critical lesson learned: the most effective carrot is your interest and hands-on management. The more interest you show in the team’s progress the more invested they will be. The more aware team members are of their work in relation to the overall schedule the greater likelihood they will hit the schedule. If they or you don’t know or care about the target date, they are unlikely to hit it.
Project Management Skills or Not? Please don’t ask me that question again 😊!
Let us know what you think and join in the conversation . . . . . . .
Latest posts by Anne Kohler (see all)
- Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management? Need to Overcome Uncertainty! - August 4, 2022
- Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management? Asking the “Right” Questions!! - July 21, 2022
- Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management? Two Ears & One Mouth . . . . . . . - July 7, 2022