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PRINCE2 - Initiating a Project (IP) part 5

Setting up Project Controls (IP4)

Fundamental principles

An appropriate communication, control and monitoring framework must be put in place to ensure good decisions are made based upon correct information.


This sub-process builds on the information established in the earlier IP processes to produce a statement of project controls.

Process description

The objectives are:

  • Establish the level of control and reporting required b the Project Board for the project after initiation
  • Develop controls that are consistent with the risks and complexity of the project
  • Establish the day-to-day monitoring required to ensure that the project will be controlled in an effective and efficient manner
  • Identify all interested parties and agree their communication needs

To achieve the above requires several steps:

  • Allocate the various levels of decision making required to the appropriate level of project management
  • Establish any decision-making procedures that may be appropriate, possibly by tailoring procedures within existing quality management systems or other standard procedures
  • Incorporate decision-making authorities and responsibilities into job descriptions where appropriate
  • Confirm the stage boundaries to provide the appropriate level of control
  • Confirm the tolerances for the project and the escalation processes (from Team Manager to Project Manager, Project Manager
  • to Project Board, and Project Board to corporate or programme management)
  • Consider the size of Work packages to be used, particularly when using external suppliers
  • Establish the information needs associated with each of the decision-making processes
  • Establish monitoring mechanisms to satisfy these information needs
  • Establish the resource requirement to provide the monitoring information
  • Incorporate monitoring mechanisms into plans and job descriptions where appropriate
  • Identify all stakeholder outside the project management team and agree with them their information needs, plus any information needed from them by the project. Define the communication content, recipient(s) and sender, method and frequency for all these external communication in the Communication Plan.
  • Create a Communication Plan as described in the Product Description outline
  • Establish the procedures required to produce and distribute the reporting information

When the project is part of a programme the Communication Plan should identify how information is to be fed to the programme.


The Project Manager is responsible with assistance from Project Support and advice from those with Project Assurance responsibilities.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Project PlanUpdateThis will need to be updated with activities and resource requirements for monitoring and control.
Risk LogUpdateRisk levels will have an impact on the scale and rigour of control activities. New or changed risks may be noted as a result of defining control and monitoring activities. Also there is a need to put in place monitoring devices for risks as they develop.
Project Quality PlanInputThe achievement of quality is one area that must be monitored and controlled. There is, therefore, a need to coordinate project controls with the Project Quality Plan
Communication PlanOutputIdentify all communication paths, frequency, methods and reasons
Job descriptionsUpdateIncorporate decision-making authorities and responsibilities into job descriptions where appropriate.
Project ControlsOutputThis will form part of the Project Initiation Document.

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘IP4 setting up project controls.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

Are the decisions being allocated to people equipped and authorised to make those decisions?

The next points reinforce the motto ‘not too little, not too much’:

  • Are the controls appropriate to the risk, scale and complexity of the project?
  • Is the level of formality established appropriate to the risk, scale and complexity of the project?
  • This covers such things as reporting, monitoring procedures and job descriptions
  • Area all the participants committed to providing the information and acting on it?
  • Have the information needs of all people with an interest in the project been considered when creating the Communication Plan?
  • Have the tolerances for the project been clearly identified?

When creating the controls for the project, consider the communications requirements of the project as well as the decisions being made.

The level of control should be appropriate for the project. Too much control can be detrimental to a project if it is unnecessary.

Programme reporting requirements should be defined in the control structure.

Feedback from the project to the programme may exist as reports for their staff to review or there may be programme representation on the project.

Programme representation is recommended for estimating the impact of change.

The project schedule should contain appropriate milestones for project monitoring of progress.
These could be at the end of a stage of when an important document or other product is due for completion.

External communication requests should be restricted to existing project reports.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.