Project Management

'C' is for Cookie! Er, Control!

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

You justified your project (J), planned it (P) out to the last detail and have gotten it approved and activated (A). Now what? Time to actually do the project--and that means managing the actions needed to insure the plan delivers as promised. In short, time to control (C) the process. At least that’s how the project flows using JPACE, gantthead’s original project management framework. JPACE is a simple yet effective framework for managing smaller projects. The letters stand for:

  • (J)ustify
  • (P)lan
  • (A)ctivate
  • (C)ontrol
  • (E)nd

In this article, I will explore the Control portion of JPACE in terms of how I view its practical application. Per gantthead:

“The Control stage manages the development of the project results. Control stage monitors and reviews the project’s progress against the plan. It manages iteration, identifies when the project is off track and takes corrective actions, making changes to the approved project plan, as required.”

Up to this point, the focus has been on getting the project approved and started. In essence, the Control stage is where the project manager focuses on getting the project done. Now the fun begins, taking the actions needed to achieve the project’s objectives. However, what could be confusing to managers is that the Control stage is not a “how to” …


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"I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near."

- Margaret Thatcher