This weeks BIG question

How effective is your project monitoring?

Project monitoring is carried out for many reasons including:

  • Checking the project is still needed
  • It is delivering against its business case, objectives and benefits
  • It will deliver against the key driver – quality, cost or time – 1 only
  • Risks and stakeholders are being managed effectively

Clearly, there are more reasons, many more. But, too frequently when I ask people on project management courses to describe how projects are monitored and controlled the feedback is usually quite negative:

  1. Could be better
  2. Patchy
  3. Too infrequent

There are several reasons for these responses, some are shown below:

  • the sponsor does not get involved in the project monitoring process – abdicating any of their responsibilities
  • projects are self monitored; monitored by the project manager which while OK in itself, does not ensure proper project governance
  • there is no overall process within the business for monitoring or change control
  • there is no overall project management culture – which would clearly include effcetive project monitoring

So, this weeks big question: just how effective is the monitoring of projects in youre company? If it’s not as good as it should be then what are you going to do about it?

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4 Responses to This weeks BIG question

  1. Ron,

    On a $600M flight software development project, we do weekly Earned Value. Progress to plan using tangible evidence of physical percent complete.

    These numebrs are used for the bi-monthly official report to NASA. A mid-month flash and a month end CPR (533M in NASA speak).

    This process answers the question “how long are we willing to wait before we find out we’re late?” The answer is 2 weeks, on a multi-billion development program.

    Without asking and answering that question the bigger question of project monitoring has no answer.

    • Glen, thanks for this.

      You have many things going for you and one…it’s a big one, is that you have a culture of project management in your business. Many companies we work in have no such infrastructure and that is where we come in and advise on what is needed. It’s a tall order but not to have the infrastructure (your meetings) means that you do not know where you are in your project other than someone’s subjective view.

      Thanks Glen

      • Ron,

        What is the question were inverted. Instead of a PM culture how about a “business success,” culture. Get the business people to see “sunk cost” as a balance sheet issue. They would not likely treat the manufacturing line in a way that said “we don’t care if we overrun on COGS.” Or the product service processes, “we don’t really care that our customer don’t like our products.”

        So could the business attached a value to actually have visibility into the operational costs of the business. back into the project processes from the balanced sheet management point of view.

        “What did you do with our money?”
        “For the money I gave you when will you produce something of value?”
        “How long do I have to wait to find out you’re not using my money in a way I thought you were?”

        Questions like that might trigger a visceral response to spending someone eles’s money properly.

        • I approve! No problems from me. I think the questions are great ones….

          You are of course correct – business culture/project culture…..

          Thanks Glen, really appreciate the input.

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