Monitoring performance of a project
Even projects that are well designed, comprehensively planned, fully resourced and meticulously executed will face challenges. These challenges can take place at any point in the life of the project and the project team must work to continually revisit the design, planning and implementation of the project to confirm they are valid and to determine whether corrective actions need to be taken when the project’s performance deviates significantly from its design and its plan. This is the purpose of the Project Monitoring, Evaluation and Control Phase.
Not surprisingly, the three principle categories of activities taking place during the Monitoring, Evaluation and Control Phase are:
- Project Monitoring
- Project Evaluation
- Project Control
These activities are intended to occur continuously and continually, taking place through the entire life of the project (hence the design of the PMD Pro Project Phase Model includes the Monitoring, Evaluation and Control Phase as a background that extends from the earliest tasks of Project Identification and Design, all the way through the last tasks of the End of Project Transition Phase.
For example, the earliest iterations of the project indicators are already being developed during the Project Identification and Design Phase; the Monitoring Plan is developed during the Planning Phase; monitoring visits are conducted during the implementation phase, and many evaluation activities are undertaken during the End of Project Transition Phase.
Differentiating Monitoring, Evaluation and Control
Before examining each of the three categories of activities in the Project Monitoring, Evaluation and Control Phase in detail, it is first important to differentiate between them.
Progress Monitoring tracks the operational work of the project. It answers questions like “Have activities been completed as planned?” “Have outputs been produced as anticipated?” “Is the work of the project progressing as projected?” At a fundamental level it is a passive process, it changes nothing. Instead, it tells the project manager where the project performance is in terms of money, time, risk, quality, and other areas of project progress. At its core, the goal objectives, timing and activities of project progress monitoring are perhaps best identified via the following table:
Figure 30: The What, Why, When and How of Monitoring
A continuous review of project progress at the activity and outputs levels
Identify necessary corrective action
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