IPMA International Project Management Association
28 November 2018 / 9:00

Status quo of Project Controls – findings of a survey

Project Control may be defined as a subset of Project Management with the primary focus of managing the project’s cost and schedule. According to the LOGIKAL 2018 Project Controls Survey Report, the discipline is getting increasingly important and is applied in various industries. The highest response rates of this year´s survey came from infrastructure and construction, oil and gas, rail and underground as well as power and utilities.

Based on respondents’ recent project experiences, the survey results indicate a strong relationship between the effectiveness of project controls and project success. There is a clear trend validating the sentiment that businesses that place a higher value on controls are more likely to meet their project objectives. Organisations that place critical importance on project controls are twice as likely to succeed.

The survey analyses project success by region (where success is considered as meeting all project objectives), the North American and Asian markets enjoyed the highest project success rates. Projects in Australasian markets which met all their project objectives all had well-drafted and well-integrated processes. These projects all came from the oil and gas and government/ public sectors. Central/South American and Australasian regions showed the greatest room for improvement with 50% of those in Central/South American and 32% of those in Australasian regions stating that project controls needed at least significant improvement. In Australasia, this was most evident in infrastructure and construction as well as rail and underground markets.

Key findings of the survey are as follows:

  • Project control is becoming increasingly accepted globally as a powerful management tool to assist management decision-making and to improve project outcomes.
  • There is an intrinsic relationship between good project controls and project success. The more integrated project controls were across time, cost and risk, the more they were seen as effective and robust.
  • Support for project controls from management and leadership is linked to project success – it positively impacts project controls capabilities, and maturity within an organisation.
  • Projects are facing a shortage of appropriately skilled project controllers. Those that reported having project controllers with sufficient skills to perform effectively were seen most often on projects where there were higher levels of project  control integration.
  • The wider project community could benefit greatly from understanding on a practical level the benefits of project controls, and why we need to be determined and disciplined in measuring and reporting project data.
  • Having a diversity policy is now common worldwide, however, this not generally reflective of the level of gender diversity within a workplace. Projects that were the most gender-balanced (i.e. around 50% split between men and women) were more successful in achieving their project objectives, regardless of the industry or region.
  • BIM awareness is still emerging with more and more organisations beginning to use it in the delivery of their projects. This technology is known to increase the speed of delivery and reduce costs and our survey backed this up through finding that increased utilisation of BIM being linked with improved project outcomes for the organisations of our respondents.



1 Comment

  • As a lifelong construction project manager, I do NOT see “project controls” as a “subset” of project management at all but as the core competencies required OF a project manager. (consistent with the original PMBOK Guide concept of “core” and “supporting” knowledge areas.)

    Explained another way, in construction, there is no way a person can become a project manager without having spent some years working in various “project control” functions which are NOT just about “managing the projects costs and schedule” but also about managing contracts, claims and document control.

    Bottom line, I see the “popularity” of “Project Controls” following the same trajectory as the popularity of “PMO’s” which are, for all intents and purposes, synonymous.

    To learn more about “project controls” from those of us who do it for a living, go HERE http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/GPCCAR-modules or HERE http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/certification

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.