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How to Manage Projects by Exception

Management by exception is a method of business management that focuses on identifying and managing cases that deviate from the norm. When applied to project management, this means constantly monitoring the project for issues and variances that may put the project at risk. Then, spending time on those issues first and foremost.

Management by exception is a business strategy that centers around identifying and addressing cases that deviate from the norm. When applied to project management, this approach involves vigilant monitoring of potential issues and variances that could jeopardize the project, with a focus on addressing those concerns promptly. This proactive strategy is integral to a robust project risk management plan.

Is project management by exception feasible and necessary?

Absolutely. Embracing project management by exception is not only possible but essential for elevating organizational effectiveness and efficiency, ensuring competitiveness in the market.

Six Strategies for Successful Project Management by Exception:

1. Utilize Comprehensive Project Management Metrics

Implementing project management key performance indicators (KPIs) that encompass both operational and financial metrics is crucial. This comprehensive approach allows for a thorough assessment of project health, including monitoring delays, activity bottlenecks, and cost metrics.

2. Set Thresholds for Effective Monitoring

Recognizing the inherent variability in projects, it’s essential to establish thresholds that define acceptable ranges for metrics. By doing so, you can promptly identify and address deviations from the norm. For instance, while a slight delay in a purchase order may be acceptable, reaching a critical point that threatens project delivery requires immediate attention.

3. Continuous Unbiased Monitoring

To effectively manage projects by exception, constant and unbiased monitoring of all project aspects is necessary. Manual monitoring is often delayed, error-prone, and biased. Automated project controls monitoring systems provide real-time, unbiased information, ensuring timely detection of issues.

All of these problems are solved with a system, such as Project Autopilot. The system watches all the critical metrics 24/7. It makes determinations who to alert to what issues based on critical thresholds. There is no skirting the system, and everyone is always on the same page.

4. Implement a Project Organization Structure (POS)

A well-defined POS helps allocate responsibilities among project stakeholders. This hierarchical structure ensures that the right individuals are alerted to specific problems. An automated project controls monitoring system further enhances efficiency in notifying relevant parties.

Download the Project Autopilot feature brief to lean more and discover project management by exception in reality.

5. Real-time Notifications

Once metrics, thresholds, monitoring, and POS are in place, a system for real-time notifications becomes crucial. Whether through email, phone calls, or a dashboard, immediate communication of issues empowers stakeholders to address problems promptly, preventing them from escalating.

We prefer a dashboard, because it gives you one place to look, a simple way to organize all the alerts, and a jumping off point to fixing the problem.

Whatever the method, it needs to be real time. You don’t want to wait around and let these issues fester. You need to let people know immediately about an issue they can help fix.

6. Escalation

Not all issues require the same level of attention. Having a system in place to escalate problems based on severity ensures that higher management intervenes when necessary. This hierarchy, outlined in the POS, streamlines decision-making processes.

Systemizing Project Management by Exception

While manual approaches may cover these areas, systemizing and automating project management by exception enhances efficiency. Integration of business processes and critical data into a unified system lays the foundation for achieving real management by exception. Project Business Automation (PBA) emerges as a solution, providing the integrated framework necessary for seamless project management.

Incorporating these six strategies and embracing technological solutions like Project Business Automation can transform project management by exception from a theoretical concept into a practical and efficient reality. By automating processes and ensuring real-time monitoring, organizations can proactively address deviations, fostering a culture of creative problem-solving rather than data management.

Download the PBA Quick Guide to learn more about how PBA works to add value to your organization.

Project Business Automation Quick Guide