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Growing your IT business without this type of software is next to impossible.
You probably want to sleep well after hours knowing that you’ve done everything possible to help your business succeed. Implementing a project control solution can be one of the things you do this quarter that bring you closer to this vision.
Keep on reading to learn why I’m so confident that project control can make all the difference in your IT business.
What are project controls for PPM?
Project controls are processes companies use to gather and analyze project data. The idea is to keep the project cost and schedule on track.
Project controls build an iterative process that helps you to measure a project’s status, forecast its likely outcomes based on the measurements - and then improve its performance if those outcomes don’t seem too good.
To give you a better idea of what project controls are, here are a few activities that you’ll always find under this umbrella term:
- Aligning your projects with your portfolio or business goals and objectives.
- Developing a work breakdown structure (WBS).
- Budgeting and forecasting your projects.
- Monitoring project cost.
- Feedback and reporting on projects.
- Collaborating on the initial project schedules.
- Developing a risk management plant.
- Optimizing project strategies to improve future outcomes.
7 processes that define project controls
Your budgeting process is more important than you expect. By integrating it smoothly into all other project activities, you’re going to enjoy consistent profit margins on your projects. You’ll also know why and when differences in your expectations vs. reality occur.
In time, you’ll refine your budgeting estimates and develop a transparent model available to all the stakeholders. It will serve ad your benchmark throughout the project and help you understand the most important thing – the cash flow you need to keep your business afloat.
2. Project planning
Planning is a key step for running any project. This is when product managers and controllers often collaborate to create project plans, schedules, and cost estimates.
It’s an activity essential for building a baseline that you can work with throughout the project.
In an ideal scenario, you can always compare your plans to reality while the project is running and once it has been completed. These insights will help you to understand your mistakes and correct them.
3. Risk management
Project controls open the door to more accurate manner risk management. You can identify risks, proactively monitor them, and then come up with contingency plans to address them.
That way, risks won’t impact your budget or schedule as much as they could. It’s the best way to prevent risks from happening in the future.
4. Change management
How many times does a project deviate from its path? Most of the time, it happens not because of a single factor, but it’s a cumulative effect of several things that might go unnoticed until they present themselves as a problem.
That’s why change management is so important. By tracking changes and understanding their impact on the project, you can instantly learn whether the project remains on track or not.
This is also an opportunity for developing your evaluation, approval, and accountability process to support your team at every stage of monitoring projects.
Working on the accuracy of your estimates at complete is worth your time. You can gain much more insight into what currently drives up your costs and schedule overruns.
Progress measurement gives you a lot of input here as well. You can’t forecast projects based on no data, right?
To tap into this insight, you need to compare the actual uncommitted cost and extrapolate it to match your forecast (for example, using standard forecasting methods and formulas).
But doing it all manually isn’t going to cut it when you’re working in a fast-paced IT business environment.
That’s why having the best IT project management software with a forecasting module is such a critical enabler for fast response. It enables you to take corrective action immediately once you see a project getting off track.
6. Performance management
If you’re not using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor your project health and forecast trends, start doing it as soon as possible.
It is the best way to forecast trends in your project and take corrective actions as soon as you see something going off the mark.
Companies that use performance data to manage projects achieve a smashing 68% success rate compared to the mere 7% for projects that don’t take advantage of this data.
In this process, you basically establish all the processes and systems that help your team members to collaborate.
But establishing a process is just one side of the coin. The other is tracking status updates, capturing meeting minutes and lessons learned and managing workflows so that people focus on execution instead of organizing routine tasks.
Benefits of project controls for PPMs
In larger projects developed over the long term, you face many moving parts that make it harder to stay aligned with the initial plans. But close monitoring and analysis help to keep everything in check.
Here’s what you can do if you start using project controls:
- Reduce project costs by making timely decisions (in line with your KPIs).
- Increase project predictability for cost and completion rate.
- Gain a better idea about the profit margin your project will deliver.
- Get more visibility into the financial health of your project at all of its stages.
- Mitigate project scope creep.
- Get meaningful benchmarking data to use in future project estimation.
- Improve your personal reputation as a manager who knows how to control a project portfolio well.
- Your business gains are a competitive advantage over companies with less mature product management capabilities.
- Your team members are happier, and their job satisfaction is higher.
4 ways project control software helps your business grow
1. Improves budgeting vs. the actual costs
By knowing how much time and cost you estimated for a project vs. what actually happened, you gain an immense wealth of data to use for estimating future projects.
Practically any estimation technique relies on access to historical data. And what’s better than the experiences and lessons learned on your own?
But that’s not everything. You can also compare plans to reality while the project is still running.
For example, if you notice that you’ve already burned through 70% of your project budget while only delivering 50% of the work, you can instantly step in and take action to prevent the project from going over budget.
2. Resource capability analysis
Another value of product controls for the growth of your business is the data you get about your resource capabilities. By investing in high-quality software, you get a bird’s eye view of all the skills and levels of seniority at your company. As a result, you can see which specialists are used most in your projects and communicate the new hiring needs to your HR team.
This is especially important when paired with information about employee utilization rate. If you notice that your DevOps engineers are constantly 100% utilized, it’s time high time that you hired some new experts. Their job satisfaction and motivation might drop because they work at full capacity for too long.
You don’t want to overwhelm your employees when retaining them is probably the smartest thing you can do to power the growth of your company. Finding new ones will likely take a lot of time and money instead of working on mission-critical tasks.
Project controls give you a lot of valuable information for financial planning. It’s especially important for an IT services business like yours, which gets exposed to many different opportunities.
What if two clients approach you with similar projects, but you don’t have enough people to cover both of them? How can you prioritize projects based on the skills you have at hand as well as financial information?
Naturally, you should pick the project with higher profitability. You can make a simulation and quickly prioritize opportunities based on the information in the project control software. It integrates data from financial reports to resource allocations and equips you with the data you need to make the best decisions.
Planning is a key aspect of the life of a PPM. You don’t want to leave things to chance, right?
What you need is a proper data-driven planning process. But getting your hands on all the data and bringing it to one place is a time-consuming task if you still rely on spreadsheets.
That’s why an integrated project control solution can make your life so much easier – all the data is in one place, constantly updated to reflect the work on your projects.
Would you like to see how easy project planning and controlling project budgets can be? Book a demo with me to see how Primetric can help you achieve all of these goals and grow your business.