Monitoring and Controlling Process Group - Essentials

As a project manager, you always sit in the driver's seat of the car. So it's your job to monitor whether the car is driving properly in its lane and to intervene in things that go wrong by making controls when necessary. Because if the car goes off the road once, you will either die, get injured, or lose money and time. For projects, this is metaphorically the same. If a project does not proceed as planned and uncontrolled deviations occur in the process, that project either dies, gets injured, loses money, or loses time.

What is the main purpose of monitoring and controlling a project?

The monitoring and control process group is the part of the project where we monitor how the project is progressing and where we use measurement methods to see the current performance of the project where we create performance reports according to the measurements we had about that progress. 
We can make a separation between monitoring and controlling notions mentioned in this process group. The monitoring section is where the project manager closely observes and examines the progress of the project. Such as; is the project going well, are the stakeholders satisfied with the project? Are our stakeholders participating in the process, are they engaged enough? Is there any problem we have to address? What are the areas we couldn't identify yet? On the other hand, the control part is essentially based on statistical evaluation and measurements in which data is analyzed.

As a necessity for this process group, if we detect a variance with the project management plan and actual results of the project, change requests are submitted and corrective actions are applied to make the project in accordance with the project management plan again. Monitoring and controlling processes are conducted continuously and they overlap all of the other project management process groups. 

In PMBOK 7, even though there are huge conceptual differences between these two the counterpart of this process group is:

What is the difference between monitoring a project and controlling a project?

The term monitoring has a similar meaning with observation and simply watching if everything is on track or not. In project management, monitoring can be defined as observing, collecting information recording and reporting the necessary information both for the use of the project manager and stakeholders. On the other hand, controlling is aligning the actual performance of the project with the planned version by using the data obtained by monitoring. As you see controlling and monitoring are different terms but they have a close relationship as they work together.

How many project management processes belong to the monitoring and controlling process group?

The monitoring and controlling process group include the following processes.
  • Monitor and Control Project Work: This process is a part of the integration management knowledge area. It is the process in which the progress of the project is monitored, controlled, and the necessary reporting is made. It is checked whether the deliveries that are starting to emerge gradually, the processes implemented during the creation of these deliveries are in line with the project management plan and the pre-determined goals of the project.
  • Perform Integrated Change Control: In this process, it is ensured that the changes that may occur are under control and that the requests for changes poured into the document, if any, are addressed in a holistic manner. It is aimed to minimize the negative risks that will arise from changes that are incompatible with the overall project, and to prevent project management hazards such as scope shifting and gold plating.
  • Validate Scope: After the completion of the deliveries, which are determined in the project scope notification document, the customer conducts a review and confirms whether the requirements have been met.
  • Control Scope: During the preparation of deliveries, it is the process in which the requirements are checked before they are completed and reach the customer.
  • Control Schedule: It is the process by which the time performance realized in the current state of the project is compared with the schedule baseline and the performance of the project in the meaning of time is controlled.
  • Control Costs: It is the process by which the project's performance in cost understanding and current expenditure values are compared with the cost baseline, determining the current state of the project and its likely future performance.
  • Control Quality: A process that mainly focuses on whether delivery production processes meet the quality requirements of the project.
  • Control Resources: It is the process in which necessary corrective or preventive actions are determined by examining the differences and deviations, if any, between the planned use of project resources and the actual use.
  • Monitor Stakeholder Engagement: It is a process in which stakeholders ' relations with the project, the team and each other are monitored in order to keep stakeholder participation at the most efficient level possible for the project.
  • Monitor Communications: This is the process in which failures that may occur during Communication Management and project communication implementation are monitored and these failures are tried to be improved.
  • Monitor Risks: It is a project management process in which issues such as whether there are risks that are overlooked when defining project risks, whether the risks are defined correctly, or whether the risk responses are determined appropriately.
  • Control Procurements: This is a project management process in which relationships that may exist with suppliers are managed, compliance with contracts is monitored and corrections are made when necessary if a supply agreement has been reached.

Examples of PM Exam questions about monitoring and controlling

Which knowledge areas include processes related to monitoring and controlling?

Answer: All knowledge areas have at least one monitoring and controlling process.