Why are Project Controls needed on your project?
So what are considered ‘Project Controls’ processes?These systems are applied to the project during the initiation and setup phase, and provide our clients the financial, schedule, budget, and document control information needed to keep projects on time and within the established budget parameters (“baselines”).If the Project Controls process is established early in the project, it also keeps our Design and Project Management processes fully aligned with those of our clients.
A project with the correctly integrated Project Controls framework in place, from start to finish, can accomplish three major items:
- It gives our clients the peace of mind that their dollars are being spent efficiently and their project is moving on schedule;
- It keeps all ‘stakeholders’ engaged with the project progress;
- It gives the Project Manager (PM) the ability to communicate to the client when project requirements are needed for the Project Team.
One example is to utilize an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) which tracks Actual Costs, Planned Costs, and Earned Value across the project timeline. An EVMS can provide early insight into developing trends, indicative of both problems and opportunities, which can be identified quickly to allow the PM to focus attention where it is needed. These identified trends allow the PM to execute early corrective action to enable fulfillment of the technical and contractual requirements. Also, “scope creep” can be identified by objectively measuring the program’s cost, schedule and technical progress against the original baselines. The resulting metric is reported to our clients on a planned, regular basis:
The reporting metric also provides a Cost and Schedule Performance Index tied to the Project’s Work Breakdown Structure and deliverables. Any deviation from the Cost or Schedule Performance Index is identified and clearly explained, through a variance analysis, which can address the following concerns:
- What is the problem causing the deviation?
- What is the impact on time, cost and performance?
- What is the impact on other efforts, if any?
- What corrective action is planned or under way?
- What are the expected results of the corrective action?
BRPH has been successful in not only reporting EVMS metrics, but also in using it to manage multiple phases of work on our largest projects and programs. A current example relates to a brand new Entertainment sector client for BRPH. This client expressed a concern (and placed high priority) on the overall project schedule and opening date for their project. Also, they were particularly interested in tracking how design fees were spent across the multiple design packages. By directly communicating with the client’s project controls counterpart, and aligning our cost-loaded schedule to match the client’s work breakdown and reporting structure, we were able to track our design costs exactly as they had planned. This gained instant trust with the client, and also granted an immediate approval on our first reporting period and invoice.