From the CEO:

The Management Solutions and Project Controls Solutions teams were fortunate enough to be a Platinum sponsor for a recent global project controls summit. This was a great opportunity to present and learn with some of the world’s leading experts in the field of project controls. To this point, I want to focus this month's CEO Insight on the importance of continual learning for all levels of an organization.

Anticipation of the post-pandemic future, coupled with growing demand for the new, emerging skillsets needed for the jobs of tomorrow, is pushing leaders to prepare for unprecedented organizational change. Continuous learning is critical to becoming future-ready. If a desire for continuous learning is implemented successfully, the rewards are more innovation, expanded capabilities, and the ability to reskill in real-time.

When it comes to learning, the barrier that often holds organizations and learners back is a tendency to focus on what we know. Most people spend their time in performance mode, trying to demonstrate “This is what I know, and this is my expertise,” rather than in a learning mode, asking “What do I need to learn to improve myself and deliver?” To combat this, we need to learn to learn. Learning is a muscle that can be built, flexed, and strengthened—helping people learn faster, adapt to change better and more quickly, and build resilience. No matter how experienced someone is, adaptability and resilience predict continuous learning success. Those traits are also essential design criteria for learning systems: the ecosystem and climate an organization establishes for learning and reskilling.

So, how do companies and leaders accelerate learning and prepare their organizations and employees for the future? These three actions can pave the way.

  1. Cultivate a learning orientation at all levels. Companies should help individuals, teams, and the whole organization embrace experimentation, risk, and surprise. Most learning occurs on the job from testing assumptions and new ideas. But to make that learning stick, companies need to create space for people to learn from both failures and successes—their own and those of others. That’s where processes and formalized structures like feedback loops, and cultural elements such as psychological safety, help lead to change.
  2. Promote connectivity and engagement. Creating open-knowledge systems can engage employees, helping them share and access learning and find ways to innovate. Technology, including digital learning, will be an important factor in scaling learning and collecting data that helps companies continually ramp up their efforts. Just as important are human connections. Those connections create a network that enables employees to learn from others and build that psychological safety across the organization.
  3. Create a learning environment that supports reskilling. Learning is a creative discipline that requires a blend of on-the-job practice and formal training, as well as space for curiosity. It is curiosity that fuels the desire to learn and inspires people to try something new, including reskilling. According to McKinsey & Company, more than 87 percent of executives report skills gaps in their organization. The way to meaningfully address those is by creating an environment where people can “learn to learn” and become more adaptable and resilient. Simply getting started on reskilling programs makes organizations better prepared for potential future role disruption—and is preferable to waiting. Start now, test rapidly, and iterate. By committing to skilling efforts now and building institutional learning while capturing what works and what doesn’t, organizations can apply those lessons during disruptive events in the future.

As organizations seek to become future-ready and thrive in a post-pandemic world, the learning and development function must rise to the challenge. Building strategic capabilities, skills, and learning mindsets will provide value now and over the long term. Embracing this is imperative and will accelerate employee growth, continuous improvement, and innovation at scale.

If we can help your team get started on holistic project controls training, please visit our website www.ProjectControlsSolutions.com.


Misty Mayes, CEO

Holistic Project Controls Training
Christine McLean FAcostE, UK Managing Director & Global Director of Project Controls Training
Two of the highest occupations in demand in the UK and around the globe are project management and project controls. According to Glassdoor, there are currently around 27,000 job openings in the UK alone. These roles are required across all industries, causing the high demand.

Project Controls Solutions was formed during the height of the pandemic in June 2020 to address the workforce shortage as well as the need for existing practitioners to be upskilled. Project Controls Solutions evolved out of our belief that the project controls profession can create well-paying, sustainable careers for individuals. Many of the students Project Controls Solutions trains come from rural, economically disadvantaged, or majority-minority regions. Project Controls Solutions wants to be at the vanguard of efforts to provide meaningful work, dignity, and improved quality of life as well as social mobility to anyone interested in pursuing a career in project controls.
What makes Project Controls Solutions different than other training providers?
Project Controls Solutions was developed after decades of expertise delivering technology-driven engineering solutions and is an affiliate of the Management Solutions’ family of businesses. Our project controls assessment (PCMA)©, training, advisory, and recruitment services produce professionals in the project controls industry who consistently deliver significant cost reductions, improved efficiencies, expedited project completion, and increased business value to our clients. Our best-in-class project controls training programs equip our clients with the project controls capabilities required to execute and deliver even the most difficult projects. All our trainers have at least 20 years of experience delivering projects and are considered global experts in more than one technical discipline of project controls. Beyond world-class technical expertise, Project Controls Solutions strives to instill a culture of innovation, humility, and forethought in our graduates that immediately creates business value for every client.
Where do we start?
First, we assess each project controls professional’s current knowledge and experience levels using our proprietary Project Controls Maturity Assessment (PCMA)©. This assessment is designed to help individuals and their managers better understand their current project controls competencies and create a development plan to expand those competencies. The report assesses individuals’ knowledge and experience across the three primary areas of project controls, which are: technical, behavioral, and contextual. Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses in these three areas will lead to personal and professional growth as well as higher levels of employee and employer satisfaction.

The technical section of the report analyzes an individual’s technical mastery of core project controls functions such as estimating, cost management, planning, and scheduling. The ability to execute a project controls function technically, understand the intuition behind the technical function, and generate analysis in response to technical outputs differentiates project controls practitioners from individuals who are only able to populate software packages. Effective technical mastery of project controls functions is foundational to becoming an effective project controls practitioner.

The contextual section of the report analyzes the extent to which the individual has experienced the full life cycle of a project or program and understands the overall project strategy. Many project controllers are not given opportunities to see the big picture. Although they are effective at executing the technical requirements of their job, they are unable to connect their tasks with the overall project strategy.

The behavioral section of the report analyzes individuals’ understanding of the behaviors required for successful project controllers such as collaboration, adaptability, communication, self-development, and the achievement of desired results. A successful project controls practitioner must understand not only project controls functions, but how to communicate their analysis of those functions to various stakeholders.

The Project Controls Solutions team performs a gap analysis to identify which capabilities the employee needs to advance to his or her learning goal. A report is then generated on their current level of project controls expertise and customized recommendations for each student to reach his or her development goal. The result of the gap analysis is an individualized training program for each student.

What training do we offer?
Project Controls Solutions currently offers a certificate program in project controls which is accredited through the Tennessee Higher Education Committee (THEC) as well as nine professional development courses. All our programs can be delivered with a flexible schedule that meets our clients’ needs. Our programs upskill professionals with the project controls expertise (curriculum and practical application skills) necessary to deliver a positive impact on their projects and advance their careers. In addition to the THEC accreditation, we are also in the process of gaining accreditation by ACostE and ECITB in the UK. We offer the following trainings:

  • Certificate Program: Our certificate program provides comprehensive training in project controls and is meant for individuals with an overall score on the Project Controls Maturity Assessment below 2.4 out of 5. Our fully virtual, 230-hour course is taught by recognized subject matter experts. The course is comprised of nine modules which cover subjects including cost management, scheduling and planning, EVMS, and risk management. The course includes our complete E.L.I.T.E. Practicum, a proprietary case-based curriculum that allows students to work in groups to apply project control techniques at every stage of the project lifecycle.
  • Professional Development: Project Controls Solutions offers nine professional development courses. Our professional development courses are stackable, meaning that a student only enrolls in the courses he or she needs. These courses are taught by subject matter experts and include relevant portions of the E.L.I.T.E. Practicum, enabling students to immediately apply what they learn in the course to a simulated project.
  • ECITB: Project Controls Solutions is working towards gaining accreditation in ECITB Project Controls Courses (Introduction to Project Controls, Estimating Methodology & Practice, Project Document Managers, Managing Risk as part of a project, and Certificate in Project Controls) and ECITB Supervision and Personal Skills Courses (Supervisor Training courses, Presentation Skills, and Coaching Skills). Project Controls Solutions is also working with the ECITB to gain approval for our Certificate Program in the UK. 

Why are we different? 
Comprehensive training - Project controllers comprehensively trained in our programs can go from one project to another. For example, one project may require ten schedulers and five cost engineers, and then the reverse could be required on another project. Comprehensively trained project controllers could change disciplines from one project to the next, providing the business with a flexible and agile workforce and often reducing the personnel footprint needed to support the project.  

Flexible Delivery – We strive to meet our partners’ unique needs and understand the need to limit overhead costs. Therefore, our certificate program in project controls, Project Controls Success, and our professional development courses can be delivered on a condensed full-time schedule, via part-time evening and weekend classes, or through a variety of other alternative delivery models. 

If you would like any further information or to discuss your individualized training requirements, then please contact info@projectcontrolsolutions.com.
Managing Responsibility in Project Controls 

Management Solutions is a national award-winning performance management and consulting firm that specializes in improving organizational performance through proven sustainable solutions, customized to meet our clients’ and partners’ needs. Management Solutions offers a broad array of project strategy, delivery, and execution services tailored to meet our clients’ unique needs. Our services are delivered by Management Solutions’ highly trained and technically sophisticated engineers and subject matter experts. Management Solutions takes care of the project controls in each project, allowing the project managers to focus on the technical delivery while ensuring all tasks are being completed efficiently.

As you know, an essential and tedious task for project teams is overseeing the project budget and schedule. Adapting to constant changes requires a substantial amount of time and effort but a necessity for the project’s success. We have collected tips to help project managers/controllers make the most of their journey to be successful throughout their careers. Along with information overload due to the increasing amount of information technology systems, the demand for project personnel is quickly increasing. How will project managers/controllers balance all their responsibilities on the job? 

Project managers/controllers are responsible for status updates and the extensiveness of information shared with each entity is determined by each person’s role in the project. It can be difficult for project managers/controllers to manage these information requirements but recognizing the different levels of need-to-know basis is fundamental to the success of each project. Another aspect to recognize is the level of controls varies as a result of several factors: project size, complexity, risk, and importance. Careful consideration of these factors will allow the practioner to determine the amount of project documentation and level of tracking and control that is required. According to PMI.org, the table below provides a generalized outline for establishing a reporting plan for project controls (Yosua et al., 2006). 
Classifying projects according to their impact levels can also be useful. This can be done by looking at a portfolio of projects and the characteristic assessment factors. More established processes can be implemented by categorizing impact levels through using similar project control plans. High-impact projects have a higher risk, complexity, and visibility. Making sure these projects have solid, accurate metrics so unexpected changes to the project’s cost, schedule, or scope can be addressed quickly and effectively is a necessity. A deeper level of analysis for earned value data should be conducted so the risk can be assessed early in the project to minimize additional costs due to unforeseen impacts. The same level of project analysis may be more trouble than it is worth for the low-impact projects. For medium-impact projects, a middle ground for analysis should be obtained.  

By grouping impact levels together, a consistent project controls plan be established. Things such as the Communication Plan can be reused with the necessary edits made to reduce the workload and guarantee consistency throughout the organization’s project controls implementation, while still ensuring the plans are tailored to the client’s individual needs. Project controls plans should include a WBS, schedule, Communication Plan, and status reports that include the project’s milestone progress and cost status. Keep in mind, the depth and explanation of each report along with the frequency of distribution is dependent on those receiving the report and level of impact of the report itself. 

Due to higher risk, size, complexity, and importance in high-impact projects, a more thorough project control plan requires frequent reporting. Often weekly, daily, or hourly updates are appreciated. Furthermore, a detailed Communication Plan is most effective for high-impact projects so stakeholders can provide their expectations and project managers can ensure the status reports are being distributed to the necessary parties. Lower-impact projects require less reporting but should still have a thorough Communication Plan for clarification for what is expected. 

As project managers/controllers, it is easy to feel as though every project-related central function is our responsibility including meeting with project sponsors, executives, clients, functional. Although this work is essential and a requirement for the success of the project, it requires a lot of time and effort. It is important to remember that there are more things required of a project manager/controllers than status reports, often having more importance. This is where enterprise-level software management systems and an increased focus on training and advancing the maturity of organizational project management becomes useful. Everyone involved in a project can use the same data system to pull data, rather than relying on the project manager/controller to be a hub for all information. 

The success of a project is determined by the proper implementation, controls, and completion of each project. This should be simple but because of the number of additional tasks needed to complete these duties, there seems to be little time for project controls. Making project controls a priority will ensure the efficiency, success, and effectiveness of each project. 
If you are having trouble viewing you can View as Webpage