What is Project Controls?
Project Controls is the application of processes to initially define the project baseline, measure project performance against it to compare actual with planned performance, enable variances to be identified and corrected and then revise and update the baseline accordingly so that project objectives are achieved.
This definition encompasses all stages of a project or program’s lifecycle from the initial estimating needed to ‘size’ a proposed project, through to the forensic analysis needed to understand the causes of failure (and develop claims).
The functions undertaken by project controls professionals includes estimating future works, determining the current status of work in progress, understanding the reasons for this status and recommending appropriate actions or alternatives based on the observed status and trends. Within this framework, for a recommendation or prediction to be useful, the reliability of the information upon which it is based needs to be understood, and additionally, any realistic estimate or forecast must take into account uncertainty and the cost and time consequences of identified risk events.
Consequently, the project controls discipline can be seen as encompassing:
- Project strategy, planning and methods studies to optimize future outcomes,
- Scheduling including development, updating and maintenance,
- Cost estimation, cost engineering/control and value engineering,
- Risk management,
- Earned Value Management and Earned Schedule, including WBS, OBS and other breakdown structures,
- Document management,
- Supplier performance measurement / oversight (but excluding contract administration).