Proper project management requires a project to measure progress along the way. In order to benefit from all the effort expended during planning, a project must be properly controlled to meet its objectives. Project progress is used to help control schedule and costs and to assess if a project is on track. To support this endeavor it is essential to identify and measure what matters for the success of the project.

Some project managers use a subjective method for determining progress, such as asking team members for an estimate of the percent complete for each work package or activity. On projects where work is not objectively measured, the estimate the team members provide is simply a guess. The process of asking for percent complete is time-consuming and because it does not provide a realistic estimate of the project’s progress is a waste of time.

Another way to track progress is by accurately measuring and evaluating how much has been done to complete a deliverable based on work package time and cost estimates. The use of the WBS and the activities needed to produce the work package deliverable are broken down to an appropriate level for monitoring and controlling. Because work packages are completed relatively quickly and frequently, the project manager can monitor completion of work packages as a way to show progress on deliverables within the time and cost allotted to them in the plan.

Project Measurement Cost and Scheduling Corrective Action

Scheduling being a crucial component of project controls deals with the initiation of a plan and setting up a realistic and achievable schedule for a project. Cost estimating is another vital aspect of project controls. Cost control and scheduling needs to be interlinked as part of an effective progress monitoring system. Monitoring, analyzing, forecasting, and reporting are all important steps of a scheduling and cost management processes. The project controls experts who understand both scheduling and cost control functions are in a better position to deal with potential variations.

Achievable schedules and project cost estimates are essential inputs for the establishment of realistic performance measurement baselines to measure construction progress against. They are vital benchmarks for determining when variance has occurred and when corrective action is needed to adjust performance within the existing project baseline.

To be effective an acceptable range in which the measurements can fall (control limits) need to be established in advance to determine if the project is on schedule. A plan must be put in place to effectively manage and control the project to the schedule baseline, and manage schedule variances.

How to keep a construction project on track

Early detection of problems is needed to identify why, what, and where a project is off track. This requires accurate measuring of how much work has been completed for project deliverables based on time and cost estimates. Accurate timely measurement is essential for the identification and control of problems. Typically, corrective actions are undertaken to adjust performance within the existing project baseline to mitigate the problem.

Project measurement is required after corrective action is implemented to evaluate the effectiveness of the corrective action. In some cases further corrective action is needed to get the project back on track.

Despite the considerable progress in the construction project management field, it appears true that the conventional approach still reflects a lack of utilization of Project Controls best practices. There are numerous studies that highlight the significance of controls in achieving project objectives. The overall performance of a project can be improved dramatically if contractors, builders, and project owners make optimum use of project control systems.

Consult with Specialty Plant Services

It is literally impossible to execute large-scale projects and control them within the approved baseline without project controls specialists. Specialty Plant Services is a leading project controls company in Canada where we utilize proven techniques and software to streamline project implementation and delivery within set deadlines. Our services include third-party estimating, cost management, scheduling, progress measurement, and modeling for large construction projects. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.