Monitor and Control Project Work Basics and Inputs You Should Know for the PMP Certification Exam

For the PMP Certification Exam, you should know that this process uses information from the project management plan and the work performance information and compares the two. For exam purposes, you should be able to do just that.

Monitor and Control Project Work. Tracking, reviewing, and reporting the progress to meet the performance objectives defined in the project management plan.

To begin with, look at the difference between monitoring and controlling.

Monitoring versus controlling

When monitoring project work, you’re performing the following activities:

  • Collecting information about the project performance

  • Providing forecasts for future work

  • Tracking and analyzing risks

  • Communicating the status of the project

When controlling the work, you are

  • Comparing the information with the project management plan

  • Compiling and analyzing the information

  • Developing preventive action plans to keep the project within the variance thresholds

  • Developing corrective action plans to bring the project back within the variance thresholds

  • Recommending defect repairs for processes that allow poor performance

  • Submitting change requests to implement the preventive and corrective actions, defect repairs, or other necessary changes

Here is how the PMBOK Guide Glossary defines these two terms.

Monitor. Collect project performance data with respect to a plan, produce performance measures, and report and disseminate performance information.

Control. Comparing actual performance with planned performance, analyzing variances, assessing trends to effect process improvements, evaluating possible alternatives, and recommending appropriate corrective action as needed.

Notice that many of these actions take place in other processes such as Control Risks, Control Quality, and other control processes. You can consider Monitor and Control Project Work the parent process to most of the other monitoring and control processes.

Monitor and Control Project Work: Inputs

Where does the information you are monitoring come from?

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  1. The team performs work to create project deliverables. The work takes place in the Direct and Manage Project Work process. The output from that process is work performance data.

  2. Work performance data is an input into processes in the Monitor and Control process group:

    • Control Scope

    • Control Schedule

    • Control Costs

    • Control Communications

    • Control Risks

    • Control Procurements

    • Control Stakeholder Engagement

  3. An output from each of the control processes is work performance information — the work performance data compared with the baseline and the variance thresholds.

  4. Work performance information is an input to the Monitor and Control Project Work process in Project Integration Management. The work performance information is combined and analyzed to create work performance reports that describe the project status.

The definitions for the various stages of work performance are

Work Performance Data. The raw observations and measurements identified during activities being performed to carry out the project work.

Work Performance Information. The performance data collected from various controlling processes, analyzed in context and integrated based on relationships across areas.

Work Performance Reports. The physical or electronic representation of work performance information compiled in project documents, intended to generate decisions, actions, or awareness.

The inputs to compare actual project performance to the planned performance are the project management plan and the work performance information. You can see that the work performance information comes from controlling processes in scope, schedule, cost, and so forth. The work performance information is then compared with the project baselines and variance thresholds documented in the project management plan.

The work performance information from scope, schedule, and cost has actual measurements, such as the dollar amounts spent, the deliverables actually completed, and so forth. Cost and schedule forecasts are also used when assessing the overall project performance.

The project management plan not only contains the project baselines, but also the thresholds for variance for each of the project objectives, including at least scope, quality, schedule, and cost.

Threshold. A cost, time, quality, technical, or resource value used as a parameter, and which may be included in project specifications. Crossing the threshold should trigger some action, such as generating an exception report.

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