Project Execution & Control Phase
- Creates and delivers the end result, product or service
- Executes the tasks in the project schedule
- Delivers regular updates to project stakeholders detailing progress
- Relies on the plans from the Planning Phase to control the project
- Expends most of the project resources
The purpose of the Execution & Control phase of the project is to manage every aspect of project delivery to assure the project is successful. At this point, the Project Plan has been approved and the project management working deliverables have been established. In this phase, the execution of the project is being managed and its progress tracked to the plan established during project planning. To ensure the project stays on-schedule and within scope and budget, performance is monitored against the project plan and adjustments are made as necessary.
The Execution & Control Phase answers the questions of:
- Are we on track to complete the work as we planned it?
- If not, what do we need to do to get back on track?
- Who should we keep informed about our progress, and how often?
In the Execution & Control Phase, the Project Manager works with the project team to perform the work of the project as planned. The Project Manager monitors the progress of the team, identifies issues or risks that occur, creates a mitigation plan with the team, and regularly reports on the project’s status to various audiences. The Execution and Control Phase is critical to a project’s success. A proactive approach to project execution allows for rapid responses to any changes in the project plan, and a consistent, regular, and appropriate level of status reporting provides all interested stakeholders with updated project information. By keeping stakeholders informed of the project’s progress, the Project Manager provides them the opportunity for intervention or redirection as needed in order to keep the project moving toward successful completion.
Executing & Control Processes Activities
- Procure or secure any required resources (hardware, services, software, etc.)
- Make project progress information available to stakeholders
- Work results (deliverables) are created
- Conduct status review meetings and disseminate status reports
- Change management (original project scope, cost, schedule, and technical strategies)
- Direct and lead the project team
- Ensure project progresses according to the plan
- Manage any project issues and risks
- Track lessons learned through the project duration.
Project Manager Duties:
- Updating the project task status in ServiceNow
- Updating the overall project status weekly in ServiceNow
- Conducting regular project team meetings, to discuss:
- Progress of scheduled work
- Issues or risks to progress
- Changes to initial plans to address issues/risks
- Checkpoint on upcoming milestones
- Issuing regular, appropriate communications to stakeholders, according to project communications plan.
- Perform project change control, as necessary.
- Conduct project review meetings with stakeholders, as necessary.
- Taking necessary actions to clear any roadblocks or challenges to progress.
Project Management Office (PMO) Director Duties:
- Conducts regularly scheduled reviews of project health
- Ensure progress on scheduled tasks
- Ensure Project Managers are adhering to the Project Management Methodology
- Checkpoint on upcoming milestones
- Review and address project interdependencies
- Conducts resource allocation review
- Ensures that project status information is accurately communicated to IT Senior Management and other stakeholders
- Conducts periodic Resource Utilization Review Meetings
Deliverables of the Execution & Control Phase
Project Change Requests
Project Change Control is performed from project inception to project completion, because some degree of change is inevitable on any project. The defined project scope and schedule baseline must be maintained by continuously managing changes to the baseline, either by rejecting new changes or approving changes and incorporating them into the revised project plan.
Any proposed significant change to project scope (deliverables), cost, schedule, or technical strategies requires an approved Project Change Control Request (see Appendix C).
Scope Change – Any significant change to the agreed upon deliverables of the project.
Schedule Change – Any changes to the agreed upon start/completion dates or critical milestones of the project (not tasks).
Cost Change – Any significant change to the agreed upon costs (budget) associated with the project.
Resource Change – Any significant removal or addition of staff or resources from/to the project team.
Technical Change - Any major change in technical strategies. This would apply only if a specific technology was mentioned in the Project Charter (e.g. we are going to use a SQL Server database where the charter mentioned an Oracle database).
The Project Change Control Process includes:
- The Project Manager identifies whether a change needs to occur or has occurred.
- The Project Manager evaluates the impact to the project versus the benefit of the change.
- The Project Manager completes a Project Change Request Form (see Appendix C).
- The Project Manager notes the Project Change Request in ServiceNow.
- The completed Project Change Control Request is reviewed by the PMO Director.
- The Project Sponsor(s) and the PMO Director are responsible for reviewing and approving or rejecting the requested changes.
- The signed Project Change Control request is scanned and the document is added to the project in ServiceNow (Required).
Project Status Reports
The Project Manager is responsible for weekly project status reporting. For the Project Managers and project teams, status reporting helps them stay on track and on task. Accurate project status reporting also provides an ongoing view of our project portfolio, and high-level information for divisional stakeholders including the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology and the Universities Senior Management Team. Status reports should be produced weekly in ServiceNow. Status Reports are used to communicate the following key information:
- Current activity status (schedule)
- Significant accomplishments for the current reporting period
- Planned activities for the next reporting period
- Present Issues, Concerns/Risks
Status Reporting Overview
The project status reports in ServiceNow are available to the Project Sponsor and the Information Technology Division Management Team. The ServiceNow PMIS allows the team to review the status reports of the entire project portfolio, identifying bottlenecks with divisional resources, analyzing progress toward delivery of our technology commitments, and identifying projects that require management intervention. The Project Manager is responsible for any follow up or resolution actions generated by management review of the project status. There are 9 main components to the weekly status report:
- Project Name
- Project Phase
- Overall Project percent complete
- Project Sponsor
- Project Manager
- Project Health
- Overall Project status
- Project Managers comments on the project’s progress.
- Project Milestones start and end dates.
When to report:
The Project Manager should provide an updated project status report weekly by Friday of each week.
Where to report:
In ServiceNow Projects module, the Project Manager should enter the Status Report tab in the Project Workbench to complete the weekly status report. The Project Manager can then click the “Create New” button to produce the weekly status reporting for that week.
What to report:
- If there is a negotiated change to the milestones of the project, these dates should be updated in ServiceNow.
Overall project status
At this time, Project Managers should update their project status (color) based on the following guidelines:
Project Status Color:
Green Green status signifies the project is on its currently negotiated schedule and budget, and there are no unresolved issues causing delays/overruns
Yellow Yellow status signifies the project MAY be one of the following: behind schedule, or over/under budget, or there are unresolved issues or risks that could cause delays/overruns. However, a plan is in place to get the project back on track.
Red Red status signifies that the Project IS more than one of the following: behind schedule and/or over/under budget, and/or there are unresolved issues or risks that WILL cause delays/overruns.
Blue Blue status signifies that the project has been approved. However the project is still is not yet underway and does have an approved project charter.
Note that a project whose schedule and/or budget are re-negotiated to address issues should revert to green once that negotiation is complete with the project’s direct and indirect stakeholders. The Project Manager should use the color that best reflects the current state of the project AND their communications/negotiations about its status with stakeholders.
Overall percent complete
Project Managers should make their best estimation on the overall completion of their project based on factors such as the percentage of tasks and milestones completed and where the project is according to its planned duration.
Comments on the project’s progress
To provide a clear picture of the project status, the Project Managers should answer the following questions about their project using the status update fields in ServiceNow:
- What progress/milestones have been achieved since last update? (“The project has entered testing” or “The team has installed the required hardware or software”)
- Are your upcoming milestones on track or not? (“The project is shifting the due date of new code development due to resource issues – we plan to recover the time by testing in parallel with users”)
- What unresolved technical issues is the project experiencing? (“None at this time”)
- What unresolved business issues is the project experiencing? (“A resource is unavailable this month due to their internal scheduling demands”)
- What assistance does the project need from management? (“None at this time” or “Agreement or approval of date shift of 1 week for development”)
Answers to these questions should be included in every weekly status report, regardless of the Green-Yellow-Red status of the project. The Executive Summary section is a clear opportunity for the Project Manager to communicate progress, successes, or obstacles to the Project Sponsor and Senior Management.
Reporting and Managing Project Issues:
- An issue is defined as a situation, problem, or an activity that has happened, or is happening, which impacts upon the approved project plan.
- A project issue is a concern or request raised by any stakeholder that needs to be addressed, either immediately or during the project.
- Project issues need to be reviewed during the project as they could become a serious threat to the project and therefore a mitigating strategy needs to be prepared.
- Issues are different from risks. An issue is something that is a problem that has happened or is happening, whereas a risk is something that may happen in the future and may have an effect on the project.
Creating Issues in ServiceNow
The Project Manager must create and record issues in ServiceNow. To create a new issue, the Project Manager should:
- Enter the Issues tab of a project from the project workbench in ServiceNow
- Click on the green "New" button
- Enter a subject for the issue in the "Subject" textbox
- Select a priority from the "Priority" dropdown list if desired
- Select a status from the "Status" dropdown list if desired
Project Closeout Readiness Review
When the Project Manager deems that all project tasks have been completed and all agreed upon deliverables have been created, the Project Manager will engage the PMO Director to conduct a Project Closeout Readiness Review. The Project Closeout Readiness Review will confirm that the project deliverables are completed and that the project can move to the Closing Phase.