First things first

Ever felt like you lost project control and wondered whether you should still be in the project management game?

When did that happen?

It’s always easier to maintain control from the beginning than try and regain control later in an out-of-control project. However, all things are possible for the project manager who will grasp the nettle!

First, let us look at keeping project control from the start and second, regaining control if it has been lost.

Keeping Control

project control
Once the fun part of creating a project definition and project plan are over, the daily task of keeping control of the project kicks in. You’re on the way, so now you’ve got to keep her steady!

There are two keys to maintaining project control – keeping in touch and early problem resolution. My focus in this website is on the human skills, but early problem resolution is so critical I am including it here too.

You hear the mantra “project communication” so much it becomes a cliché and meaningless. If you follow the philosophy of Project Management Insights, communication is automatic. There are so many areas to apply this, meaning there are many opportunities to involve people, keeping them and you current. Everyone has their finger on the pulse! So, don’t see these crucial activities as chores, but as golden eggs. So keep in touch with your people at every opportunity. I’m talking about, among others:

  • project progress reporting
  • project filing management
  • project issues management
  • project risk management
  • project change control
  • project quality management

I said early problem resolution is critical. In fact, this can make or break a project. Again, see this as an opportunity to talk with people to move forward towards resolution and keeping on track. Even if you think the project should be terminated due to new information on costs, constraints, changing corporate strategic goals or technical issues, get with the relevant person, probably the sponsor, with whom you have already got a great relationship anyway. An early termination should be considered a cost saving rather than a failure, as an example.

Regaining Control: Process or Panic?

Drowning in project issues, slipping time frames, breaking the project checklists, missed milestones, unhappy team members and users? Once you’ve lost project control, take a definite project management step to regain it. Don’t let it slide, take action! It won’t correct itself and the methods, project management tools, processes and templates won’t manage it for you! Call a temporary halt for a project assessment. Review the status or health of the project in a wider forum than you normally would for a progress meeting. As part of this checkpoint, recommend a session to establish control as you would at the start of a project. This will give you a fresh start with agreement on the way forward and you can feel good about being in project management again!