III.C.3 Measure and monitor project activity

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Excerpt From The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook

There are both measures of the ongoing project and measures of the results of the project. With an effective tracking/monitoring, measuring, and reporting system in place, the critical performance measures of an ongoing project follow.

Timeliness. Tracking includes overall progress (such as percentage complete), status of major stages or milestones, and completion of specific activities. It is important to track both late and early variances from plan because they affect the probability of success, costs, and the status of other projects contending for the same resources.

In medium to larger projects, critical checkpoints are established in the planning stage (usually indicated on the Gantt chart). These milestones or stage gates are the points at which a check is made to ascertain progress. They are the points where key measures are taken to determine if the project is proceeding on target, and if not, decisions can be made to bring the project back on track. Adjustments may be made to increase or decrease resources and expenditures or shift resources to an activity or event on the critical path where needed. As a result of the ongoing monitoring of milestones, changes to plan may result, for example, recomputing of the critical path or revision to resource allocation plans. All changes must be documented.

While project monitoring continues at the milestone level throughout the implementation stage of the project life cycle, progress or stage/gate reviews may be targeted to key schedule dates or completion of major work packages (identified on the work breakdown structure). These reviews between the project manager, senior management, and key stakeholders evaluate the results of the project implementation to date. The reviews may include assessment of:

  • Schedules against the critical path
  • Expenditures against budget
  • Resource utilization against plans
  • Implementation results to date against plans
  • Reevaluation of risks
  • Major issues confronting project continuance
The outcome of the stage/gate review may be any one of these options:
  • Continue on to the next stage at the approved level of funds and resources.
  • Go to the next stage with new or changed objectives and plans.
  • Hold off the next stage until more information is available and/or organizational conditions change.
  • Postpone or cancel the project before entering the next stage.4

All such decisions must be documented.

Budget Variance. The project budget lays out the cash flow over the life of the project. Tracking expenditures and comparing to budget, at critical project stages, provides a basis for appropriate financial control.

Quality Management BOK Reference

III Management Elements and Methods 
III.C Project Management 
III.C.3 Measure and monitor project activity - Use tools such as cost variance analysis, milestones, and actual vs. planned budgets to monitor project activity against project plan. 

Additional Resources
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Date Added: Sep 11, 2018
Date Last Modified: Jan 27, 2019
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