St Albans, United Kingdom (PressExposure) June 30, 2011 -- In a bid to help 'UK plc' run more smoothly and become more successful, Ron Rosenhead, chief executive of the project management training and development specialist, Project Agency, has revealed the eight key factors that keep active projects on track.
Ron Rosenhead, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and chief executive at project management training and development specialists, Project Agency, explained: "Even after planning a project carefully, identifying the stakeholders and the project's risks - and actively managing them - there are plenty of things that can go wrong. To stop this happening, you need a monitoring and control process for your project."
Rosenhead has identified eight key factors in this process:
1. Loose versus tight control. You need to decide, in conjunction with the project's sponsor (a senior manager) the type of control that is appropriate for your project. Tight control is appropriate for high risk projects.
Once you have decided on the appropriate type of control - and you may want to mix the type of monitoring and control throughout the project - ensure you develop a system that fits it.
2. Project spend. It is vital to have accurate project spend figures - regardless of the amounts of money involved. Create processes for capturing the figures if your organisation's internal system does not help
3. Tolerance. In conjunction with the senior manager who is the project's sponsor, agree a 'tolerance' percentage - in terms of time and/or resources. You only report to the sponsor if an activity within the project turns out to be over or under that agreed percentage.
4. Planned versus actual. Develop a chart which maps out the planned activity's durations and costs. Plot the actual figures and compare them with the plan.
5. Reporting. Agree with senior managers how often and how you will report. Rosenhead advocates a one page report with agreed headings.
6. Milestone reports. Develop a 'milestone' reporting chart - and ensure that, when someone reports they are off schedule against a milestone, they have a recovery plan to bring it back on target.
7. Project changes. According to Rosenhead, few projects go through their life cycle without change; so develop an agreed process to deal with these changes. Control the changes rather than allow them to control you - by recording the type of change and its impact - and agree changes with the project sponsor (and if appropriate, key stakeholders) if the change impacts on the project budget or the project's objectives.
8. Meetings. Have agreed agendas and agreed durations for each project meeting. Ensure you produce action points which are circulated soon after the meeting.
"At the Project Agency, we advocate putting in place a project monitoring and control process as early as possible in the life of the project," said Rosenhead. "This process needs to be discussed when the business case for the project is made - otherwise the project could well 'stray', wasting precious time and money."
The Project Agency has many years' experience helping organisations deliver projects on time and to budget. It also delivers a wide variety of project management related training and development events, as well as e-learning materials.