Control of Projects - A Cybernetic Control
cybernetic control, negative feedback loop, first order control system, second-order control system, third-order control system
Control is the last element in the implementation cycle planning-monitoring-controlling. Information is collected about system performance, compared with the desired (or planned) level, and action taken if actual and desired performance differ enough that the controller (manager) wishes to decrease the difference. Note that reporting performance, comparing the differences between desired and actual performance levels, and accounting for why such differences exist are all parts of the control process. In essence control is the act of reducing the difference between plan and reality. Control is focused of the three elements of project-performance, cost and time. The project manager is constantly concerned with these three aspects of the project. Is the project delivering what it promised to deliver or more? Is it making delivery at or below the promised cost? Is it making delivery at or before the promised time? It is strangely easy to lose sight of these fundamental targets, especially in large projects with a wealth of detail and a great number of subprojects. Large projects develop their own momentum and tend to get out of hand, going their own way independent of the wishes of the project manager and the intent of the proposal.