Project Control Process: Definition & Function

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  • 0:03 The Project Control Process
  • 0:38 What Is the Project…
  • 1:49 Project Control Tools
  • 2:46 Results of the Project…
  • 4:23 Examples of Project…
  • 5:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mike Miller
How do project managers control whether a project is on schedule or on budget? The quick answer is that they learn the project control process. This helps them ensure that a project is completed on time and on budget. Complete this lesson to learn more.

The Project Control Process

The Project Managers Institute (PMI) lists the project control process as part of the monitor and control process group. This group of work consists of the processes required to track and monitor the progress and performance of a project and identify any areas that require changes. Project control is a continuous process that requires the project manager to observe, gather information, and make changes to the project as necessary. The process of monitoring and controlling the project can be thought of as a feedback cycle.

What Is the Project Control Process?

The project control process compares actual performance versus the planned performance of the project. A project manager uses a formula to determine if the work that has actually been completed matches what was originally planned for completion at any given time. For example, a project planned to have 50% of the work completed and budgeted to spend $100,000 by the 6-month mark. A project manager can calculate the actual amount of work completed and budget spent versus what was planned. If the two figures are not equal, corrective action may be required.

The project control process will also identify and track new risks and issues. Tracking risks and issues is important because either one, if not controlled, can quickly cause the project to overspend or fall behind schedule.

Project status reports are another method used to determine if a project is under control. A project manager will meet with the project team regularly to gather status report information from each work group involved in the project. Status reports are another method a project manager can use to identify when the project may be experiencing issues that require corrective action.

Project Control Tools

There are several different project control tools, which include expert judgment, analytical tools, and meetings.

Expert Judgment

The project manager will use their past experience, or expert judgment to influence decisions on the current project. Often, the project manager will use the entire project management team to help make decisions for the project.

Analytical Tools

There are many analytical techniques the project manager can use to identify the potential for variations in a project's performance. Regression analysis, causal analysis, and earned value management are just some of the analytic tools a project manager uses to track a project's performance.


Meetings can be face to face, virtual, formal, or informal, and can include project team members, executives, and stakeholders. Meetings are useful to the project control process because they create a method for project stakeholders to discuss issues and concerns.

Results of the Project Control Process

There are many different beneficial results of the project control process:

1. Change Requests

A change request is used when a change is needed to correct deficiencies in project quality, schedule, or budget. A change request can be initiated for any reason and may impact the project's quality plan, schedule, or budget. It is up to the project manager to manage the change request process so the goals of the project don't keep shifting during project execution.

Types of changes requests include:

  • Corrective actions are an intentional activity that realigns performance plans.
  • Preventive action is an activity that prevents future issues.
  • Defect repair is an action to modify a nonconforming product or process.

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