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bottom-up project control

TMN, Issue 2, 2012: Dynamic Scheduling: Integrating schedule risk analysis with earned value management

In this article, published in 2012 in The Measurable News, two alternative project control methods, known as bottom-up project control (see ”Bottom-up project control: Setting action thresholds using schedule risk analysis") and top-down project control (See ”Top-down project control: Setting action thresholds using earned value management") are compared to each other. Bottom-up control makes use of schedule risk analysis to determine the set of activities that need the highest control (see “Schedule Risk Analysis: How to measure your baseline schedule’s sensitivity?") while bottom-up control relies on earned value management  (see ”Earned Value Management: An overview") to create early warning signals when projects need actions.

Bottom-up project control: Setting action thresholds using schedule risk analysis

The interest in the sensitivity of project activities from both academics and practitioners lies in the need to focus a project manager’s attention on those activities that influence the (time and cost) performance of the project. When management has a certain indication of the potential impact of the various activities on the project objective, a better management focus and a more accurate response during project control should positively contribute to the overall performance of the project.

Why project control works so well for some projects and fails so miserably for others

Controlling the performance of a project in progress is key to the success or failure of a project. It requires a set of metrics to measure the current progress and to forecast the future expected project behavior such that the project manager is able to timely detect project problems and take corrective actions to bring the project back on track. In order to be able to take high quality corrective actions, the project manager should set action thresholds that act as triggers to take these actions, which can be done in two ways:

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