How to control projects across the project life span? Part 3

Project control is vital for management of any projects. We learn to control against the plan but is there one plan on the project life span? If there is more than one plan, which plan do we control against?

Four Control Reference Points

In the previous articles we introduced the subject and discussed the first and second control reference points. Today we cover the third and fourth control reference points.

Project Control and Change Management: The Four Control Reference Points

Project Control and Change Management: The Four Control Reference Points

Third Control Reference Point

Where is the third control reference point?

How about the project detailed plan?

Not yet – before the PDP we have the project management plan.

After the PAD, the project manager and team start working on the basic requirements in accordance with the project objectives. We outline the basic requirements in the basic requirements document (BRD). Subsequently the team develops the project management plan (PM Plan).

Throughout the project launch stage, the project manager must use the PAD as her guiding reference; she cannot deviate from it without the formal approval of the sponsor. Once we have the project management plan, which includes the updated Class 2 Estimate, we have our third control reference point or baseline. This baseline aligns to the project management plan.

Once again, we know that this is not yet the commonly understood baseline.

The project management plan includes various project management elements, such as procurement strategy, project life span, updated schedule, cost estimate, among other factors. These are more than enough to allow us to exercise control during the project definition stage. To enhance the chance of project success, we must monitor and control for any change or variations from the project management plan.

How do we do that?

As for changes to the PAD, the organizational change control system must include policies and guidelines for these changes. Yet it has been our observation from close to thirty years of professional experience that a large percent of organizations do not manage change prior to final funding, or even worse, they do not manage change unless they have a contract with a service provider. We think this is one of the most significant gaps in project management today, for project owners’ organizations. We will touch on this concept in details under the Scope Creep section of this chapter.

Fourth Control Reference Point

“What is the fourth control reference point?

This is easy! It is the traditional set of control baselines, which we discussed earlier. These are the baselines established with the project detailed plan, which the team will use extensively during the project delivery phase.


One more article and we close this topic. This series is extracted from an upcoming book.