9 Activities of the Control Schedule Process Group
The final project management area is the control schedule. In the previous process groups, the project and relationship activities, estimated length of activities, and project schedule are all established. This rigorous agenda needs to be monitored during the entire project process. At times, the cadence needs to be controlled and re-aligned with objectives and desired deliverables.
So how can you minimize or control changes to project schedules? This blog will outline the control schedule process and main focal points of these activities.
What is the objective of this process group?
What is the objective of schedule control? The main focal point is to keep track of each stage of the project and update managers to account for adjustments made to the scope in order to deliver the best possible outcome to the client. Once the project team has developed a solid schedule for the project, the team will observe the start and end dates for each phase.
Once it is time to begin the project, the outcomes may differ from the original desired outcomes. Some activities may take time to finish, or require extra materials not originally accounted for. In the control schedule, the results of each activity will be compared to the originally estimated statistics. All discrepancies are examined and recorded at this time.
In the control schedule process, project managers are responsible to examine the plan and maintain each step of the project. If there is a discrepancy on the schedule, or if the project can’t be finished on-time, it is up to the project manager to align the team and get tasks back on track.
As the project is being completed, there is a possibility of change. All of these possibilities must be evaluated and eliminated in order to stop the cause of these changes. If this is not possible, the impact these changes will make must be minimized to the best of the project manager’s ability.
What are the activities in the Control Schedule Process?
In the control schedule process, the project manager will go through 9 steps. These steps are as follows:
The 1st Activity of the Control Schedule Process: Re-estimation of the remaining components of a project
In the planning stages of the project process, all objectives are outlined and speculated with very little base information. As the project begins to go underway, this information will be clarified and the project team will have more context to use in order to deliver quality deliverables to the client. Future activities can be outlined more clearly at this point. Re-estimation is sometimes necessary in order to better understand the goal completion date and standards.
The 2nd Activity of Control Schedule Process: Conduct performance reviews
The outcomes of all stages will be compared to the outlined values during every step of the process. This is how the project manager will determine if the project is operating on-schedule or if the team is running behind.
The 3rd Activity of Control Schedule Process: Adjust future parts of the project to deal with delays
If the project team is running behind schedule, the project manager must realign duties in order to get the project back on schedule. The control schedule process is very important so that future aspects of the project can be re-evaluated to accommodate these setbacks. Project managers can use tools such as fast-tracking, schedule progression, or crashing can to get a project back up to speed.
The 4th Activity of the Process: Measure variances against schedule
The difference between estimated schedule and actual schedule will show just how off-track a project is. This comparison is completed during the control schedule process. If a project is running behind, the delay must be documented and communicated to all parties involved in the project.
The 5th Activity of Control Schedule Process: Level resources to distribute work
If parts of the project are too far behind, an overload on resources can occur. To offset the project activities and resources, resource leveling must be done in order to re-align the project.
The 6th Activity of Control Schedule Process: Continue to play “what if…” to better optimize
In the world of project management, planning is extremely crucial. So, during the control schedule process, any shortcuts must be evaluated. If there are any parts of the project that can be shortened or re-defined, these options must be considered.
The 7th Activity of Control Schedule Process: Adjust progress and project reports
As the project is underway, it is important for the project manager to report to the board in regard to the progress of each deliverable. Adjusting reports for all respective parties is essential. For example, if the project manager is presenting data to the executive team, statistics must be presented and gathered at a high level. If the project manager is presenting metrics to an internal team, this will not be necessary.
The 8th Activity of Control Schedule Process: Utilize change control process
Once the project schedule is finished, schedule baseline is evaluated and changes are made if deemed necessary. Change requests are always monitored by the change control board. Change requests can either be approved or denied. If changes are approved, other tasks in the project must be realigned to accommodate these adjustments. Changes must be made through the change control process and only once they are approved by involved parties.
The 9th Activity of Control Schedule Process: Identify the need for change requests
If a change request is needed, this usually signifies improper planning. As a project manager, it is important to steer clear of changes that are not absolutely crucial. The importance of all changes must be evaluated during the control schedule process, too.
Importance of Re-Estimating in Control Schedule Process
Re-evaluating the project process at last once will help you as the PM ensure that you will meet all budgets, expectations, and deliverables assigned by the client.
As you plan each phase of the project, project activities must be outlined approprorly. If you have a budget, you will need to schedule a baseline in order to have a full project management plan. With budgets and baselines in place, your team will be confident in what is expected. As the project is being conducted, the desired outcomes of each activity may differ from what was originally anticipated.
Project managers should be ready to engage in re-evaluations, reviews, and re-estimations to ensure each stage of the project is on schedule and within budget.
If challenges arise, such as budget overflow, it is important to take corrective actions in order to meet the schedule and cost baseline.
To identify these discrepancies and then take corrective action, re-estimation processes must be done frequently during the project process. In some cases, this process might be completed every two weeks to every month! Re-estimation takes time and careful consideration, so be sure to allow enough time to do the job fully.
We hope this article helps you understand the 9 activities of the control schedule process. Best of luck as you continue preparing for the PMP!