Project Control Standards
These PC standards are a directional guide that would apply to projects that are being managed through the capex stage gate project development process. Aarasab NL is an early practitioner of this process which is illustrated by the example above of a typical project development arrow.
Adoption of this standardized approach helps us to develop and maintain a consistent and complete historical database of project components. It also provides standardized project data that is the basis for lessons learned. Additionally, this data can be used to improve project development and execution performance.
Project controls is generally defined as the gathering of data, data management and analytical processes that is used to predict, understand and constructively influence the time and cost outcomes of a project or programme; through the communication of information in formats that assist effective management and decision making.
Key components of Aarasab NL’s project controls team include the following:
- Planning and Scheduling
- Risk Management (includes identification & assessment)
- Cost controls
- Scope and Change Management
- Earned Value Management
- Document Control
- Progress Measurement
Aarasab NL’s project control systems and processes exist to answer three vital questions
- How much the project will cost
- How long the project will take
- What value or quality the project will deliver?
In practical project management terms, these translate into controlling project scope, meeting quality requirements, keeping projects to schedule and budget, managing risks, identifying issues, and ensuring projects benefit the company.
Studies have shown that having proper project controls processes in place during the development stages have resulted in over 20% savings in overall engineering cost. Aarasab NL has extensive experience in managing complex project controls requirements based on its long history of managing both large as well as small capex projects.
The first stage of project management is planning and outlining your fundamentals: the issues you need to solve, the people who need to be involved, the actual work you will do. You need to identify stakeholders and define project objectives that set the boundaries for project success.
Part of that success depends on providing realistic cost and time estimations, both of which form part of project control. So many projects fail simply because they underestimate time or money constraints, so you need to forecast these variables as tightly as possible. And the best way to do that is by analyzing performance data from similar past projects. In particular:
- All the tasks involved in the project
- How long each project phase took
- Budget spend per individual task
- How project activity was spread across your team
- The billable to non-billable ratio of project work
Stages 2 & 3
The build-up or development phase of project management is where the team assembles, stakeholders meet and assignments are planned. This is where Aarasab NL’s project control’s team is the key to success. Your cost estimates become budgets and time estimates become schedules, and project control is responsible for four important aspects:
- Planning/Scheduling – the beginning of a project plan and schedule, the accurate monitoring and reporting of scheduled work, and the rapid detection and correction of any “deviations” to bring your schedule back on-course.
- Cost Control – monitoring expenses and performance, monitoring budget spend, and taking action to hit minimum costs
- Cost Estimation – the foundation of cost control and cost management, predicting the quantities and prices for the resources required.
- Cost and schedule risk analysis – an assessment of risk on the project’s schedule and cost. Analysis considers the predicted delivery date, the likelihood of meeting deadlines, and the recognition of risks to the project’s cost.
This stage is where the plan is put action. While very rewarding, this stage comes with a lot of frustrations. Aarasab NL’s team keeps all stakeholders focused with clear agendas to make sure no one gets sidetracked. A lot of that depends on being able to accurately diagnose the team’s progress and activity. This information can help you pinpoint broken processes, overloaded employees and disruptive tasks. By monitoring this data, you can balance workloads, allocate project resources effectively and keep your team aligned with project priorities. By having Aarasab NL involved from the planning phase, we have managed to reduce the execution phase TIC budget by 5% simply by having the proper controls in place.
Project closeout phase
We have commissioned the project! At this point, Aarasab NL’s project controls team best practices dictate that we need to be able to review the project’s total performance to understand trends and processes that led to success so we can learn from them and repeat for future projects. We can also use these lessons learned to train future project managers on what worked as well as what didn’t.
Did the team meet their objectives? Did they progress at the expected rate? Did we deliver a quality product and still stick to budget? Is there still work to do? Good project control allows you to appraise these points. We believe in processes that we have in place that have proven time and again to deliver the best quality for our clients.