4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Fifth Edition

4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work

Monitor and Control Project Work is the process of tracking, reviewing, and reporting the progress to meet the performance objectives defined in the project management plan. The key benefit of this process is that it allows stakeholders to understand the current state of the project, the steps taken, and budget, schedule, and scope forecasts. The inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for this process are depicted in Figure 4-8. Figure 4-9 depicts the data flow diagram of the process.

Monitoring is an aspect of project management performed throughout the project. Monitoring includes collecting, measuring, and distributing performance information, and assessing measurements and trends to effect process improvements. Continuous monitoring gives the project management team insight into the health of the project and identifies any areas that may require special attention. Control includes determining corrective or preventive actions or replanning and following up on action plans to determine whether the actions taken resolved the performance issue. The Monitor and Control Project Work process is concerned with:

  • Comparing actual project performance against the project management plan;
  • Assessing performance to determine whether any corrective or preventive actions are indicated, and then recommending those actions as necessary;
  • Identifying new risks and analyzing, tracking, and monitoring existing project risks to make sure the risks are identified, their status is reported, and that appropriate risk response plans are being executed;
  • Maintaining an accurate, timely information base concerning the project's product(s) and their associated documentation through project completion;
  • Providing information to support status reporting, progress measurement, and forecasting;
  • Providing forecasts to update current cost and current schedule information;
  • Monitoring implementation of approved changes as they occur; and
  • Providing appropriate reporting on project progress and status to program management when the project is part of an overall program.

4.4.1. Monitor and Control Project Work: Inputs

4.4.1.1 Project Management Plan

Described in Section 4.2.3.1. Monitoring and controlling project work involves looking at all aspects of the project. Subsidiary plans within the project management plan form the basis for controlling the project. Subsidiary plans and baselines include, but are not limited to:

4.4.1.2 Schedule Forecasts

Described in Section 6.7.3.2. The schedule forecasts are derived from progress against the schedule baseline and computed time estimate to complete (ETC). This is typically expressed in terms of schedule variance (SV) and schedule performance index (SPI). For projects not using earned value management, variances against the planned finish dates and forecasted finish dates are provided.

The forecast may be used to determine if the project is still within defined tolerance ranges and identify any necessary change requests.

4.4.1.3 Cost Forecasts

Described in Section 7.4.3.2. The cost forecasts are derived from progress against the cost baseline and computed estimates to complete (ETC). This is typically expressed in terms of cost variance (CV) and cost performance index (CPI). An estimate at completion (EAC) can be compared to the budget at completion (BAC) to see if the project is still within tolerance ranges or if a change request is required. For projects not using earned value management, variances against the planned versus actual expenditures and forecasted final costs are provided.

4.4.1.4 Validated Changes

Described in Section 8.3.3.2. Approved changes that result from the Perform Integrated Change Control process require validation to ensure that the change was appropriately implemented. A validated change provides the necessary data to confirm that the change was appropriately executed.

4.4.1.5 Work Performance Information

Work performance information is the performance data collected from various controlling processes, analyzed in context, and integrated based on relationships across areas. Thus work performance data has been transformed into work performance information. Data in itself cannot be used in the decision-making process as it has only out-of-context meaning. Work performance information, however, is correlated and contextualized, and provides a sound foundation for project decisions.

Work performance information is circulated through communication processes. Examples of performance information are status of deliverables, implementation status for change requests, and forecasted estimates to complete.

4.4.1.6 Enterprise Environmental Factors

Described in Section 2.1.5. The enterprise environmental factors that can influence the Monitor and Control Project Work process include, but are not limited to:

  • Governmental or industry standards (e.g., regulatory agency regulations, codes of conduct, product standards, quality standards, and workmanship standards),
  • Organization work authorization systems,
  • Stakeholder risk tolerances, and
  • Project management information system (e.g., an automated tool suite, such as a scheduling software tool, a configuration management system, an information collection and distribution system, or web interfaces to other online automated systems).

4.4.1.7 Organizational Process Assets

Described in Section 2.1.4. The organizational process assets that can influence the Monitor and Control Project Work process include, but are not limited to:

  • Organizational communication requirements;
  • Financial controls procedures (e.g., time reporting, required expenditure and disbursement reviews, accounting codes, and standard contract provisions);
  • Issue and defect management procedures defining issue and defect controls, issue and defect identification, and resolution and action item tracking;
  • Change control procedures, including those for scope, schedule, cost, and quality variances;
  • Risk control procedures including risk categories, probability definition and impact, and probability and impact matrix;
  • Process measurement database used to make available measurement data on processes and products; and
  • Lessons learned database.

4.4.2. Monitor and Control Project Work: Tools and Techniques

4.4.2.1 Expert Judgment

Expert judgment is used by the project management team to interpret the information provided by the monitor and control processes. The project manager, in collaboration with the team, determines the actions required to ensure that project performance matches expectations.

4.4.2.2 Analytical Techniques

Analytical techniques are applied in project management to forecast potential outcomes based on possible variations of project or environmental variables and their relationships with other variables. Examples of analytical techniques used in projects are:

  • Regression analysis,
  • Grouping methods,
  • Causal analysis,
  • Root cause analysis,
  • Forecasting methods (e.g., time series, scenario building, simulation, etc.),
  • Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA),
  • Fault tree analysis (FTA),
  • Reserve analysis,
  • Trend analysis,
  • Earned value management, and
  • Variance analysis.

4.4.2.3 Project Management Information System

The project management information system, which is part of enterprise environmental factors, provides access to automated tools, such as scheduling, cost, and resourcing tools, performance indicators, databases, project records, and financials used during the Monitor and Control Project Work process.

4.4.2.4 Meetings

Described in Section 4.3.2.3. Meetings may be face-to-face, virtual, formal, or informal. They may include project team members, stakeholders, and others involved in or affected by the project. Types of meetings include, but are not limited to, user groups and review meetings.

4.4.3. Monitor and Control Project Work: Outputs

4.4.3.1 Change Requests

As a result of comparing planned results to actual results, change requests may be issued to expand, adjust, or reduce project scope, product scope, or quality requirements and schedule or cost baselines. Change requests may necessitate the collection and documentation of new requirements. Changes can impact the project management plan, project documents, or product deliverables. Changes that meet the project's change control criteria should go through the integrated change control process established for the project. Changes may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Corrective action—An intentional activity that realigns the performance of the project work with the project management plan;
  • Preventive action—An intentional activity that ensures the future performance of the project work is aligned with the project management plan; and
  • Defect repair—An intentional activity to modify a nonconforming product or product component.

4.4.3.2 Work Performance Reports

Work performance reports are the physical or electronic representation of work performance information compiled in project documents, intended to generate decisions, actions, or awareness. Project information may be communicated verbally from person to person. However, in order to record, store, and sometimes distribute work performance information, a physical or electronic representation in the form of project documents is required. Work performance reports are a subset of project documents, which are intended to create awareness and generate decisions or actions. Specific work performance metrics may be defined at the start of the project and included in the normal work performance reports provided to key stakeholders.

Examples of work performance reports include status reports, memos, justifications, information notes, recommendations, and updates.

4.4.3.3 Project Management Plan Updates

Changes identified during the Monitor and Control Project Work process may affect the overall project management plan. These changes, after being processed through the appropriate change control process can lead to project management plan updates. Project management plan elements that may be updated include, but are not limited to:

4.4.3.4 Project Documents Updates

Project documents that may be updated include, but are not limited to:

  • Schedule and cost forecasts,
  • Work performance reports, and
  • Issue log.