The Controlling Process Group of a project spans the entire project, from very early at the start to the very end when the project is complete. Controlling a project requires a review of metrics to regularly track and analyze project performance. The main responsibility of a project manager in this process is to review the project performance metrics then take appropriate action, if required. Project control is an ongoing monitoring activity to ensure that the project will achieve the objectives.
Two important concepts are:
1. Controlling changes. Changes to the project baseline (scope, budget, schedule) create an impact that must be clearly understood. Changes must be approved before being implemented.
2. Initiating preventive or corrective action. Both of these actions are part of the Executing Process but they rely on collecting, analysing and interpreting performance metrics in order to improve future performance metrics as the project continues.
For the PMP® exam, the Controlling Process Group contains 25% or 50 questions. Answers to PMP® questions in this process group are based on how well the project manager understands the metrics and what action, if any, is required. This process contains Earned Value Management (EVM) metrics and it is essential to learn the meaning of the terms as well as the equations. The S-curve is a visual display of project status and is a common PMP® exam question.
Sample Question (the answer is below)
Four months after the project started, the team has completed tasks worth a budget value of $80,000. The actual costs to date are $70,000. According to the project reports, you should have completed tasks budgeted at $120,000. What is the project status?
b) Ahead of schedule and overspent to budget
c) Behind schedule and underspent to budget
d) Behind schedule and overspent to budget
The Controlling Process is an essential part of projected management. The project manager needs to understand how to interpret performance measurements and be prepared to take action . When the ship starts to veer off course be sure to make changes so that you arrive at the intended destination.
The answer is c). See PMBOK® 5th ed. page 219, section 188.8.131.52.
EV = $80,000
AC = $70,000
PV = $120,000
AC is less than EV so underspent to budget. Spending on tasks has been less than the amount budgeted for the tasks.
EV is below PV so behind schedule. Completed tasks (EV) is less than the plan (PV).
Process Group: CONTROLLING
Knowledge area: COST/TIME