Plan and control



Based on the design, all elements come together in a balanced plan, the execution of which is controlled. The plan should be regularly updated, based on changes happening within the project or in its context. Control is also regularly adapted and improved, so that the individual remains in control.



The purpose of this competence element is to enable the individual to establish and maintain a balanced and integrated view over the management of a project. Maintaining the balance, consistency and performance is crucial in order to achieve the agreed outcomes.



The plan and control competence is where all information comes together and decisions are prepared or taken. Many processes and activities are described and managed in detail in the other competence elements. In this competence element, they are viewed and managed in combination, as stipulated in the architecture document developed in design. The basic, cyclical process is: plan, execute, monitor, adjust plan or adjust execution.

The focus from a project management point of view is on planning and monitoring. Information has to be acquired and combined, the organisation and its teams have to be selected and choices have to be made. The individual must determine how to plan and scale the project management effort and the way to manage the project. This includes choosing the right management style, how much and what to delegate, etc. All this is laid down in one or more decision documents (e.g. vision, roadmap, plan, etc) that need discussion and agreement.

Once the project is established, monitoring processes should be in place. These processes gather information regularly on progress, finances and utilisation of resources compared with baselines, adherence to quality and other standards, stakeholder satisfaction, etc. Regular reporting – both by lower levels to the project manager and by the project manager to stakeholders – is an essential part of the competences.

To continuously support the learning process, the management performance effort should also be evaluated on a regular basis. Based on this information, changes may be required. A predefined and transparent change management process is another essential element of project control.

At the orderly conclusion of a phase during the project lifecycle, an evaluation should take place and a report should be prepared stating the project outcomes, success and lessons learned.


Key competence indicators

Start the project and develop and get agreement on the project management plan

The first phase of every project is essential, as it provides the basis for a successful project. This preparation phase is frequently characterised by uncertainty, with information that is sketchy or not yet available. Stakeholder requirements may be only roughly defined, their expectations unrealistic and timeframe undeliverable, while early optimism and enthusiasm needs to be tempered with reality. A proactive project management style, a well prepared and effectively managed start-up workshop and the recruitment of the right project team personnel can improve the chances of a successful project. One or more start-up workshops should focus on developing the project charter and preparing the project management plan, setting out the team roles and critical path for the project.

The individual prepares and plans a project. Starting from the predefined high-level design, the individual gathers, analyses, values and prioritises enough information from the stakeholders and experts to fine-tune this approach and make an overall project management plan. This plan will be based on information and choices about requirements and quality, agreed deliverables and constraints, organisation and communication structures, necessary resources and budget, planning and main risks, etc. Finally the plan needs to be validated and agreed upon (and the necessary resources and budget made available) to initiate the start-up and the execution phase(s) of the project.


  • Organises the project start-up process
  • Gathers all necessary information from the stakeholders and experts
  • Analyses, values and prioritises information
  • Organises and facilitates a project start-up workshop
  • Prepares the project charter or project management plan and gets agreement on it
  • Prepares and communicates the plan for the project management effort


Initiate and manage the transition to a new project phase

Following the decision to fund and continue with the project, the start-up of the next phase and all subsequent phases are all carried out with the following in mind: 

  • The specific objectives for this next phase of the project
  • Any necessary organisational changes
  • The need to reconfirm or modify the project charter and project anagement plans

The detailed time schedule, cost and resource plans, risk register and possibly the expected benefits (business case) all need to be updated. Depending on the size or complexity of the project, a kick-off meeting is an effective means to inform and engage the project team(s) about the plans, demands and goals of the project or project phase. This meeting or workshop may also be used to define the work breakdown, planning, assignments or project values in more detail.


  • Organises the management of the project execution process
  • Defines the goals and deliverables of the following phase(s)
  • Manages the phase transition
  • Organises and facilitates a kick-off meeting


Control project performance against the project plan and take any necessary remedial actions

Control is based on project objectives, plans and contracts. This management process measures actual project progress and performance, compares it against the baseline, and takes any necessaryremedial action. Controlling is normally done through checks against pre-set objectives by measuring results and correcting deviations (diagnostic control). When there are major uncertainties, these can be reduced by using feedback and suggestions from operational members to adjust the process (interactive control). Control and reporting is carried out for the current period and includes a forecast for an appropriate number of future time periods. An integrated project controlling and reporting system covers all project objectives and the corresponding success criteria for the relevant project phases and requirements of all stakeholders.


  • Defines a performance control cycle
  • Describes means and methods applicable for performance control
  • Measures progress and performance


Report on project progress

Reporting provides information and communication about the status of work on the project (cost, time, resources, risks and opportunities, exceptions, etc) in the current and previous phases, and forecasts developments for the current phase and up until the end of the project. Reporting includes both periodic verbal and written status updates and forecasts by team members or team leads to the project manager and by the project manager to stakeholders, such as the principal and project boards. Reporting also includes financial audits and reviews of the project. Where the individual and/or team are very experienced, it may be sufficient and acceptable for stakeholders to ‘report only by exception’. This means only issuing a report when there is something significant that needs to be reported, rather than being monitored via regular status or update reports.


  • Prepares a reporting structure (what, when, how often, how, etc)
  • Prepares a progress report
  • Prepares a forecast report
  • Prepares phase transition reports


Assess, get agreement on and implement project changes

Changes are often necessary in a project due to unanticipated occurrences. It may be necessary to change the project specification or the contract terms with suppliers or customers. Changes must be monitored against the original project goals and objectives as set out in the business case and/or project charter. At the start of a project, the change management process to be adopted should be agreed with all relevant stakeholders. A formal, proactive change management process that anticipates the need for change is preferable to a process that only reacts after the need for change is obvious.

A change to the scope of a project or to the specification of a deliverable is made by a formal, predefined process. The change process embraces everything that results from the change required or new opportunity identified. It includes agreement on the change decision process, agreement on the need for change and the decision to accept the change and its implementation. This applies for all kinds of changes. Change management identifies, describes, classifies, assesses, approves or rejects, realises and verifies changes against legal and other agreements. Changes can be requested by any party and have to be managed as both proposed and approved changes, as well as properly communicated to all relevant stakeholders. For the management of a change, its direct and indirect effects on the whole project and its context are taken into account. The impact of the changes on the project deliverables, configuration, time schedule, cost, finance plan and risks are determined by comparison with the project baseline. Once the changes have been accepted, the project plan is adjusted accordingly.


  • Organises a process for managing changes
  • Makes an exception or change report
  • Changes the scope configuration


Close and evaluate a phase or the project

The close-out process takes place after the completion of the project or of a phase of the project, after the results of the project or phase have been delivered. Each phase of a project or sub-project should be formally closed with an evaluation and documentation of the phase carried out, checking that objectives have been achieved and customer expectations met. In the close-out of a phase, the proposals for the next phase(s) of the project should be reviewed and any issues requiring a decision submitted to the appropriate body for authorisation.

Where a formal contract has been signed, considerations include transfer of responsibilities from the contractor to the project owner, the commencement of the warranty period and the final payments that need to be invoiced. Handover (also known as ‘as built’) documentation needs to be produced and training provided to those who will use the project results. These are essential to ensure that the benefits of the investment made in the project are realised.

Project results and experience gained are evaluated and lessons learned are documented so that they can be used to improve future projects. The members of the project team will be required for new assignments and should be formally released from their roles and responsibilities.


  • Organises the project close-out process
  • Organises and facilitates a close-out workshop
  • Facilitates a complete project evaluation
  • Prepares a project ‘lessons learned’ report