Project Control: Objectives and Types of Project Control

What is Project Control?

Project control can be defined as “A project management function that involves comparing actual performance with planned performance and taking appropriate corrective action that will yield the desired outcomes in the project when significant differences exist”.

Thus project controls are tools developed to diagnose the system for deviation from the actual plan and reset them back back with the actual plan. Project controls are required to check whether the project is progressing in accordance with the plans and standard set during the planning phase. In fact project controls are measures taken by the project manager in order to minimize the gap between the planned output and the delivered output.

Objectives of project control

1. Primary objectives: The primary objective control is regulation the purpose is to monitor the delivered output by comparing it with the actual output suggested in the planning phase. The regulatory function of control helps in:

  1. Translate the objectives into performance standards that are represented by program activities and events.
  2. Formulating budgets in order to compare the delivered output with the actual output.

2. Secondary objectives: The secondary objective of control is conservation of resources the project manager is entrusted the responsibility of protecting the physical human and financial resources of the organisation.

  1. Physical asset control is  the process of controlling the use of physical assets. It includes the preventive or corrective  maintenance of the assets. A project manager has to schedule the maintenance and replacement plan in such a way that it minimises interruption to the work in progress and without overlooking the quality aspects.
  2. Human resource control is the process of controlling and maintaining the growth and development of the human capital of the organisation conserving human resources is therefore a significant aspect of the control system.
  3. Financial resources control is a combination of regulatory and conservatory functions. The regulatory and conservatory techniques of financial resources control consist of a control on current assets and project budgets along with capital investments.

3. Tertiary objective: The tertiary objective of project control is to facilitate decision-making effective decision making by the management requires the following reports.

  1. A report comprising the plan schedule and budget made during the planning phase
  2. Data consisting of the comparison between the resources spent in order to achieve the delivered output and the scheduled output. This report should also include an estimation of the remaining work.
  3. An estimate of the resources required for the completion of the project.

Types of Project Control

There are three types of basic project control

  1. Cybernetic Control: Cybernetic controls also known as steering controls are very common control systems automatic operation is its chief characteristic. A cybernetic control is like a steering in an automobile that enable the controller to keep the project on track. Cybernetic controls are generally used to monitor and control tasks that are carried out more or less continuously, Ex: software project the designing of cybernetic controls requires identifying mechanical tasks, based on the work breakdown structure a cybernetic  control system that minimize the variation from the set standards is known as a negative feedback loop.
  2. Go/No Controls: As cost time over runs may require the organisation to pay penalties to the customer, go/no-go controls are instituted to check whether the output meets the present cost and time standard. These control system are flexible and apply to all the aspects of project management the project plan budget and schedule are the control documents that contain present milestone that act as verification points controls are usually done at the level of detail in the project plan budget and schedule the periodicity with which go/no-go controls are operated are regular and present preset intervals are decided upon with the help of calendars or the operating cycles.
  3. Post Controls: These are the control system that are applied after the completion of the project these are also called post project controls or review. George Santayana says ” Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it thus while cybernetic and go/no-go controls help a firm to accomplish the goals of current projects post control tries to enhance the firms chances of meeting future project goals , on the basis of lessons learnt in the past projects.