Implementing the project
Implementing the project

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Implementing the project

2.2 Monitoring as control

To control you need a plan that indicates what should happen and information that tells you what is actually happening. This is monitoring activity. By comparing the information about actual progress against the plan, you will be able to identify any variations.

Control is an important part of project management. It involves:

  • reporting the progress of the project against the plan;

  • analysing the reasons for variance between progress and plan;

  • taking action to eliminate variance.

However sound your project plan, it is certain to need adjusting and updating as you go along. There are techniques that help to make this possible, and use of project planning software will often make the task much easier.

The box below shows the elements of project control:

  • a standard – the project plan

  • collection of monitoring information, primarily from team members

  • a mechanism for comparing progress against the project plan to identify problems

  • a process to identify the causes of problems, and to generate solutions

  • winning support and agreement to proposed changes to the plan

  • implementing corrective action, either to bring the project back in line with the plan or to change the plan.

It is also important to collect and analyse data to report back to stakeholders, who will remain involved in monitoring and negotiation throughout the life of the project.

Figure 1
Figure 1 The essential elements of project control

Expect that, as the project progresses, there will be things that you will want to change within its boundaries. There will also be changes in the environment of the project, that will impact on the tasks and activities that are part of the project itself. Whenever a review of project progress leads to a decision to make a change in the plan, it is essential to record the changes on the plan itself so that a master plan is maintained that is up to date. If you always record changes to the plan you will maintain a ‘living’ document as the basis for continuing action.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus