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March 22, 2017

By Jen Emswiler | Harkcon’s Program Control Analyst

How do you control changes to your projects? When there are approved changes within the scope of your project, what are you doing to ensure that these changes are controlled? Rory Burke states, “The project manager must be able to develop a fully integrated information and control system to plan, instruct, monitor and control large amounts of data, quickly and accurately to facilitate the problem-solving and decision-making process.” As project managers we typically have a lot on our plates and are responsible for controlling our projects in regards to the schedule, budget, risk, quality and performance. We understand that projects can experience change at any phase due to internal or external factors and that changes may impact schedules, costs, and resource allocation.

In order to effectively manage project changes we need to understand how to control change while reducing risk and unnecessary disruption to the project. This can be ch...

February 8, 2017

By Jen Emswiler | Harkcon’s Program Control Analyst

By monitoring and maintaining the program control process of your projects you are able to reduce risk, increase accuracy, track project progress, and prevent errors. The program control process provides support through planning, tracking, analysis and reporting throughout the lifecycle of a project. As Project Managers, we use measurements and data to detect if deviations exist.  In the same respect, it is critical to evaluate if the program control process itself is functioning properly in order to ensure accuracy and control of all projects.

If the program control process is operating as planned, Project Managers are able take preventative action to reduce project risks, stay on track and under budget, while keeping all parties informed.

So, how can you easily assess your program control process? Here are four quick ways and questions to ask in evaluating the process to ensure it is running smoothly.

  1. Review The Program Co...

December 16, 2016

By Jen Emswiler | Harkcon’s Program Control Analyst

During the development of the Program Control System for Harkcon we realized there was a communication disconnect between the Finance and Operations Departments. In order to enhance the relationship between the two departments we needed to create clear goals. Our goals were to streamline processes, provide an effective way to regularly communicate and increase the accuracy of project data with reports. In order to accomplish our goals we designed 4 techniques that successfully brought our departments together and improved our business.

If you are looking for strategies to implement to enhance the working relationships of your departments here are 4 techniques that will assist you. 

1. Start Sharing Data

  • One of the major issues was a variety of data existing in different places, which created duplication of documents for both departments. We wanted a way to increase accuracy, while maintaining a historical log of all incoming and o...

October 4, 2016

By Jen Emswiler | Harkcon’s Program Control Analyst

As our business began to grow we realized that we needed a more mature program control system for managing, monitoring, and controlling projects.  We started by assessing our current needs, as well as our future needs, and began our search. To our dismay we ran into several obstacles and found that many management systems:

  • Were too expensive – even the more affordable systems quickly became expensive when we needed to tailor the system to align with our contracts.

  • Couldn’t be customized the way we needed per contract type (FFP, T&M, contract size etc.).

  • Were too time consuming to manage – the systems became too complex to manage on a regular basis. Transitioning to the new systems would have been too time consuming and the training provided was far from comprehensive. 

  • Not user friendly – the systems we tried were not easy to use.

After extensive research, trial and error, implementing two new systems and still not...

August 5, 2016

By Jen Emswiler | Harkcon's Program Control Analyst 

In any business, implementing a program control system is beneficial, but determining how it should be implemented is key. I guarantee you already have processes in place for tracking, analyzing and reporting project data, but you may not have a formal program control system in place. A main benefit to having a program control system is being able to streamline processes across departments and reduce the duplication of work. Here are 6 steps that will help your business set up a program control system and implement it in no time!

1. Determine the project data you want to track and report.

In setting up a program control system, you will want to consider what project data needs to be tracked that will assist project managers and executives with understanding project status from a financial, schedule, and performance perspective that will reveal the overall health of a project.

Examples of the type of data to track on a basic level...

June 16, 2016

By Jen Emswiler | Harkcon's Program Control Analyst 

My stress is immediately reduced when I think about program control and what is does for our business. When something provides you the ability to track projects, reduce risk, increase accuracy and prevent error in your business all at once, how can you not be overjoyed and feel more at ease? This is what program control is all about. Program control is a set of operational practices that promote communication across departments while executing the operational functions of a business. Program control provides support through planning, tracking, analysis and reporting throughout the life cycle of a project. This is accomplished by implementing processes and linking departments together to ensure communication, accountability, and accuracy. It’s the left hand (operations) talking to the right hand (finance) and ensuring both departments are doing what compliments the other. 

You may think: this sounds good and all, but where...

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