|After completion of this module, you will learn:|
|The importance of the tools used to identify, analyze and attenuate negative changes to the original project plan. |
The importance of application of Project Control tools early and systematically throughout the project.
As we know, the best-laid plans for any project won't succeed unless the work is systematically managed and monitored as it progresses. That is the Project Control function. This process gives all participants the information to make corrections as needed, to bring the project to completion, on time and on budget. Maybe, ideally, even ahead of schedule, if delays are averted and the allotted "float time" is not used.
To begin, it is useful to review previous topics in the Professional Practice Curriculum. In the Project Management Module, the interrelationships of scope, schedule and budgets were discussed. The importance of budget and schedule controls were recognized. These issues are analyzed on a typical project by various conceptual tools. Typical tools provide the information for both cost and schedule variances, as well as trend analysis.
In the Contracting Organizations and Options Module, the various contract issues were discussed. The contracts between the various project entities such as the owner, the designer and the contractor, contain the definition of scope, the project cost and timing, and a protocol for prompt response should these "performance" issues deteriorate.
Baseline budgets and schedules contain the essential reference points for analysis. The project baseline budget is a breakdown of the contractually agreed to cost, while the project baseline schedule is a breakdown of the contractually agreed to timing. The breakdowns for these documents should contain similar information (tasks or cost grouping). Inconsistencies will cause delays while they are resolved.
A budget breakdown should list elements of costs that could be monitored as the project progresses. For example, if equipment (material) items will be "packaged" into the scope of a purchase order and the installation (labor) of this equipment will be contracted from a different service provider, each would be separately listed as budget items.
The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) identified on the project schedule would contain the timing of the work subdivisions for key equipment (drawing/specification approval, purchase, fabricate and ship) and installation (setting, alignment, grouting) and the logical relationships between each element that comprises the entire scope of work. The WBS should be organized to incorporate different budget elements.
Since the project scope typically includes regulatory issues at the beginning (permits), during (inspection/QC), and the end (Certificate of Occupancy, Testing Certifications, etc.), these elements should be part of a baseline schedule.
Since projects are typically broken into phases, separate budgets and schedules are essential for each of the project phases. A design, procurement, and construction schedule, applied during the construction or installation phase, must often be supplemented by a separate system testing and commissioning schedule (including warranties, as-built drawings, etc.) and phased turnover/training and acceptance. However, the overall budget must contain sufficient detail for all phases of the project - from the beginning (baseline).