Project Management Book

...chapter 7 continued

The Key Controls report contains some of the most valuable data a tracking tool will ever give you. Again, we are at the end of week 4 of this 24 week stage. Please look at block D, Total Project Hours.

                    KEY CONTROLS REPORT
A. Non-project
Week Plan 5719614517026430617096187147
Week Actual 48177172155
Week Actual/Plan .84.901.19.91
 To Date Plan 5725339856883211381308140415911738
 To Date Actual 48225397552
 To Date Actual/Plan .84.891.00.97
B. Project
Week Plan 71313332297268281317395296365
Week Actual 38303372354
Week Actual/Plan .54.971.121.19
 To Date Plan 713847161013128115621879227425702935
 To Date Actual 383417131067
 To Date Actual/Plan .54.891.001.05
C. Project
real work
Week Plan 57404436442381326426422430401
Week Actual 65438383355
Week Actual/Plan
 To Date Plan 574618971339172020462472289433243725
 To Date Actual 655038861241
 To Date Actual/Plan
D. Total
Week Plan 128717768739649607743817726766
Week Actual 103741755709
Week Actual/Plan .801.03.98.96
 To Date Plan 12884516132352300136084351516858946660
 To Date Actual 10384415992308
 To Date Actual/Plan .801.00.99.98

In week 4 the team should have worked 739 hours on the project but only recorded having worked 709, so it looks as though we lost 30 hours last week. However, over the first 4 weeks in total they should have worked a total of 2352 hours and they have in fact worked 2308 hours - very close to the planned number. So would you agree we have a very healthy project on our hands? Did you say "yes"? Please look at block F, tasks started.

E. Percent
To Date Plan 0.95.911.316.521.025.230.436.241.246.6
To Date Actual
F. No. of
Week Plan 624292522252619105
Week Actual 5262113
Week Actual/Plan .831.08.72.52
 To Date Plan 6305984106131157176186191
 To Date Actual 5315265
 To Date Actual/Plan .831.03.88.77

Still happy? To date your team should have started 84 tasks but they have in fact only started 65 tasks, so they're a quarter behind despite putting in roughly the right number of hours. Please look at block I, task completed.

G. Tasks started, not due -1-2
H. Tasks overdue starting --321
I. No. of tasks
Week Plan 413192726213416118
Week Actual 3101019
Week Actual/Plan .
 To Date Plan 417366389110144160171179
 To Date Actual 3132342
 To Date Actual/Plan .
J. Tasks completed, not due -145
K. Tasks overdue completing 151726
L. Hours for
Week Plan 25118167391
Week Actual 44139135475
Week Actual/Plan
 To Date Plan 35153320711
 To Date Actual 44183318793
 To Date Actual/Plan
M. Hours ahead of schedule -11-6523-177

How do you now feel about your project? Your team should have finished 63 tasks by now but have only finished 42. Ouch.

One last number: near the bottom right hand corner of the table is a figure of 1.12. What is that telling us? The 42 finished tasks took on average 12% more hours to complete than estimated. What rather worrying thought is in the back of your mind about all the remaining tasks in your plan: will they all run over by 12% as well? Maybe they will, maybe they won't, but today at the end of week four we have some investigating to do. We're getting early warning of a possible overrun here, we should not ignore it.

Please take a few moments to study this Key Controls Report to get a feel for what it is telling us. In the tracking, controlling and reporting chapter we will explore how reports such as this provide the raw material for crisp and concise project status reporting.

But where do all these nice numbers come from?

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