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Project management has five stages such as initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and project closing. Project planning phase entails a detailed description and arrangement of activities, time and resources for purposes of meeting the project goals and objectives on time. At the project planning phase, all activities will be carried out. It should explain what tasks to be performed; whom and when to perform the tasks, resources to be used to accomplish the project, and what sequence the tasks will follow. Additionally, project managers use this phase to plan how they will monitor and control the project (Sharma 2013).
Planning for Monitoring and Control
Project monitoring and controlling targets at ensuring that the project meets the set targets and goals as the project develops to completion. At this phase, project managers put measures in place that will observe how the project is executed (Sharma 2013). This process ensures that the project observes the timeline of other limiting factors. It also enables project managers to identify potential problems on time and come up with corrective measures on time (Department of Finance and Personnel 2014). Good criteria of measuring and controlling approaches should be identified before the project execution starts. For purposes of clear explanation, the current paper divides the stage into three: project monitoring, project evaluation and project control.
Project Monitoring and Evaluation
Project monitoring seeks to track how operational project work is carried out. It seeks to ensure that activities are completed as per the plan, ensure that outputs are achieved as planned, and the tasks in the project progress as planned (Project Management Steps 2014). Project monitoring does not change anything, but tells the project manager where the project has reached in terms of time, risk and quality. To ensure that the project I manage is properly monitored, I will use the table below for guidance purposes.
Observing the output level and come up with corrective measures in case of any discrepancy
Analyze the current project situation
Identify issues arising and find sustainable solutions
Analyze tends and patterns
Ensure that the project is implemented as scheduled
Measure actual progress against planned outputs
Throughout the project
Visit project sites
Analyze progress reports
Analyze project records
Additionally, I will make use of several indicators to monitor progress of the project. Assuming it was a road construction project, I will use the indicators shown in the table below.
How to monitor
Output e.g. Tangible products and services
Number of kilometers completed ion one month
Activities e.g. actions implemented to execute the project
Number of visits made by project managers to the project sites
On the other hand, I will put several measures in place to ensure that the project progress is evaluated properly. I will put measures to track progress of the project. The project evaluation will concentrate on quantifying project outcomes (PM Podcast 2010). In essence, I will come up with mechanisms that will answer the question such as, has the project achieved its targets so far? Is the project on the right track to attain the general goal? It is important to note that the evaluation is conducted less frequently. The table below shows some of the indicators I will use to evaluate the project.
How to monitor
Project goals. This will seek to ascertain how the project outcomes will contribute to the overall goal
Reduced traffic jam
Increased number of vehicles using the road
Reduced instances of road accidents
Outcomes of the project. Are the outcomes impacting positively towards the overall goal?
Percentage of cars using the road being constructed
After the assurance that I have good criteria to monitor and evaluate the project, I will come up with one comprehensive system for compiling information collected from monitoring and evaluating indicators. This comprehensive system will be an expansion of individual indicators used in evaluating and monitoring tasks in the project (Mind Tools 2014). This implies that a comprehensive system will provide additional information on the logical flow of the project. While developing this comprehensive system, two critical questions should be answered: what will the comprehensive system tell about the project? And what are some expected improvements to be made on decisions from the data collected? The table below shows the format of the comprehensive system.
Definition of Key Terms
Data Collection Methods
Who to collect the data
Data collection frequency
Users of the Data
Projects must be controlled properly and timely to ensure that the overall goal is attained as per expected time frame. During the project planning process, project managers do not anticipate certain changes that might affect project execution (Businessballs.com 2013). This implies that while planning, managers must be flexible enough to accommodate any form of change during project execution. In essence, the project control process must be flexible enough. Project manager must understand that change will always be required for projects in order to be successful (University of Waterloo 2010).
Basically, project control entails managing any form of expected and unforeseen changes. To take care of this, I will ensure that the planning phase of the project is not static. It must be rather dynamic. The dynamic nature of the project plan will recognize one fact that project execution is a means of achieving the end results, but not the end itself. More importantly, the project planning phase will recognize difficulties that the whole process will face if the project will have no room for changes.
When planning how the project will be controlled, I will ensure that I balance two considerations (Project Management Institute 2014). First, the whole project document should not make the project appear like it cannot be changed. Second, in as much as the project document will give a room for changes, the change should not be heedless. I will make certain that any project changes are managed through a rigorous control process. Therefore, it is necessary to make certain that all changes:
i. Are managed through formal process
ii. Are analyzed to ensure that thorough thought is engaged before the change
iii. Are documented to explain their impact
iv. Are communicated to stakeholders
Project planning phase is a key step in project management. If this phase is not handled properly, the project might fail to attain its overall goals. In fact, most projects fail since the planning phase was not done properly. Therefore, it is very important that project managers do the planning phase critically. In doing and handling the planning phase, project managers should make the project very flexible so that it survives any unforeseen changes. Consequently, this will make the project successful.
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