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Pre-Construction : Work the Plan

Pre-Construction Construction
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Process Map

(pdf 50KB)
Manage the Scope, Schedule and Budget
Manage Risk
Manage Change
Communicate Progress, Issues, & Lessons Learned

Work the Plan is the step that most people think of when they think "manage the project". Of course, this step would not be possible unless the previous steps had been completed. It is an iterative process that culminates in a completed project, and because of that, it overlaps the next step, Transition and Closure. This step is iterative because as the plan is "worked", new knowledge may be gained that result in changes to the plan, or even to the project itself. During "Work the Plan", the project manager and team:

  • Monitor, control and report project progress and team performance.
  • Identify and analyze variances to the project performance baseline.
  • Develop and implement recovery strategies, as needed.
  • Actively maintain and update the PMP as risk events or change occur, or as additional knowledge is gained.
  • Obtain change request approvals.
  • Perform quality assurance and quality control measures.
  • Manage people, resources and stakeholder expectations.
  • Provide early, continuous and meaningful communication with project staff, management and stakeholders.


  • Endorsed Project Management Plan
    • Project performance baseline - scope, schedule and budget
    • Communication plan
    • Change management plan
    • Risk management plan
    • Quality plan
    • Transition and closure plan
  • Estimate at Completion (EAC)
  • Project aging plan


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Manage Scope, Schedule, Budget, Risk and Change

Managing the scope, schedule, and budget involves monitoring, controlling and reporting project progress and team performance. Also, project teams are responsible for actively identifying and managing issues, change and risk events. They evaluate and report variances, determine a course of action and forecast the impact to the project scope, schedule and budget. See the PMRS Schedule and Cost Management process (pdf 82kb) document and map (pdf 82kb).

  1. Update Schedule and Costs Monthly

    Schedule and cost updates are based on work performed, actual expenditures, approved changes and work remaining in comparison to the project performance baseline.

    Project team members, including specialty groups and consultants provide a monthly update of the activities they are responsible for, including but not limited to actual or expected start/finish dates, actual costs, physical progress, percent complete, remaining duration and costs and activity changes. See the internal scope of work agreement management process (pdf 61kb) document and map. (pdf 33kb)

  2. Monitor and Measure Actual Performance

    Review each component of the project performance baseline; compare actual project team progress and performance to the baseline and identify variances.
  3. Scope Verification - verify the products produced meet established project requirements; including but not limited to WSDOT policy, standards, specifications and procedures. Verify WSDOT quality assurance and quality control measures are performed and documented.

    Schedule Verification - verify the actual work performed. Compare actual and expected start/finish dates, milestones, and durations to the project performance baseline. Review the critical path - has it changed? What is the impact, if any?

    Cost Verification - verify the actual expenditures for the project. Compare the actual costs to the planned value. Identify the variance; determine the impact and take the necessary corrective action.

    Specialty Groups - review the scope, schedule, and budget commitments; including start/finish dates, milestones, durations and actual expenditures. Report accomplishments, delays, variances or impacts to the project performance baseline and internal scope of work agreement. See the PMRS internal scope of work agreement management process document (pdf 61kb) and map (pdf 33kb). When change occurs see the internal scope of work agreement change management process (pdf 57kb) document and map (pdf 33kb).

    Note: Some regions and organizations have specific methods and programs for measuring performance, including earned value management systems. Discuss plans for measuring project performance with region or organization management.

  4. Manage Risk

  5. Confirm responsibilities with risk owners to monitor and track risk events. Review the identified risks; their priority, impact, probability and severity of the outcome in terms of cost, time or quality. Identify and evaluate any new risks; the probability of occurrence, potential impact and response strategies.

    Review and adjust response strategies as appropriate to provide visibility and understanding of current project conditions. Update risk status; active, dormant or retired. Retire risk events as they are successfully mitigated, avoided or the time has passed when they could occur.

    When risk events occur, determine the level of impact to the scope, schedule, budget, or quality. Review the planned response strategy for appropriateness given current estimates of impact and available resources. Use the change management process to enact and implement response strategies and adjust the project performance baseline-scope, schedule, and budget-accordingly.

    Monitor the effectiveness of each response strategy as a basis for future actions and as a reference for reporting lessons learned.

  6. Manage Variances

  7. Evaluate the severity of a variance, its impact and its source; i.e., the reasons why there is a variance and the conditions that led to it. Is the variance due to a risk event occurring? Is there a response strategy, or is this a new risk?

    Determine how to adjust the performance and/or conditions to avoid further impact and recover the variance. Directing resources to complete work that has fallen behind schedule should not create resource problems with work yet to be completed or other assigned projects.

    Carefully evaluate budget impacts when considering adding resources or authorizing overtime. Adjust the estimate as required and approved.

  8. Manage Change

  9. Variances to the project performance baseline are an indicator of potential change. Early identification of change gives the project team more time to evaluate options to minimize negative impacts and maximize opportunities.

    Each potential change issue should be treated with high priority until its significance to the project is determined. Identify the required adjustments to the project performance baseline and determine the direction for incorporating the change into the project.

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    Often a change to one side of the scope, schedule and budget triangle requires a change to at least one other side of the triangle.

    For example, typically, a change to the schedule may require a corresponding change to the project budget or project scope. Authorizing overtime or adding resources to recover the schedule has financial impacts. The scope of work may be evaluated and deliverables or activities eliminated or added. These and any other options must be carefully considered and, in some cases, approved by region or organization management, the HQ CPDM office or the Legislature.

    A change management plan (xlsx 25kb) may be used to identify and track existing and potential change issues-whether they are "proven" changes or not. A change management log will generally include:
    • Status - active, dormant or retired.
    • Date identified and affected phase (PE, RW, or CN).
    • Origin of change - the person or office that identified the change.
    • Owner - the person or office responsible for tracking, verifying and managing the change.
    • Description - detailed description and the consequences of the change to scope, schedule, budget, risk events or quality - including risk reserves or contingency budgets.
    • Trigger - the event or point in time that causes a change to occur. This may signify when to implement the response strategy.
    • Impact - to the project performance baseline; scope, schedule or budget. Identify the level of impact (high, med, low) and the affected MDL or WBS elements or milestones.

    Continuously evaluate the impact of change or risk events to the project scope, schedule, estimate and quality. Communicate the appropriate notifications to all team members - especially those whose performance is directly affected by the change.

  10. Forecast Performance

  11. Before finalizing a course of action to correct a variance or response to risk or change, evaluate the project performance baseline for the remainder of the project and determine the probable outcome at completion for each component, including a project level Estimate at Completion (EAC). The re-evaluation of the work remaining provides the understanding needed to develop and integrate change management and recovery strategies.

    Each month update the Estimate at Completion and the project aging plan.

  12. Obtain Endorsement and Maintain the Project Performance Baseline

  13. Before endorsing the project performance baseline, ensure you understand the full impact of any change to the project objectives and commitments.

    When the update is complete store the baseline as an approved integrated scope, schedule and cost/resource plan.

    Refer to the Cost Management using Primavera Scheduler training or desktop procedures for baseline guidance - when to update or re-baseline the project.

  14. Communicate Progress, Issues and Lessons Learned

    Proactively use the communication plan and available technologies to ensure accurate and timely distribution of information with the team, management, stakeholders and other interested parties. Specialty groups may further detail communication needs in the
    internal scope of work agreement. (pdf 61kb)
    • Report Progress

      Progress reporting is an integral part of WSDOT project delivery. It is the project team's responsibility to share project information with each other, region or organization management, stakeholders and other interested parties, as established in the project's communication plan.
      Continuously communicate and coordinate with specialty groups, consultants and contractors to ensure accurate and current project status information is received and included in the project update.
      PMRS is the standard agency reporting source for programmed capital projects. PMRS web reports produces the Regional Confidence, Construction Status, PS&E Status and Milestone Comparison reports.

    • Identify and Report Issues, Change and Risks

      Identify, manage and communicate "issues" encountered and their impact during the performance of the work.
      Impacts from issues and recovery strategies are communicated with region or organization management for resolution and potential approval prior to action being taken.

    • Capture Lessons Learned

    • "Lessons learned" is defined as "knowledge gained from experience, successful or otherwise, for the purpose of improving future performance."
      WSDOT's Lessons Learned System is an integral piece of the project delivery process where information is quickly and easily accessible to search, retrieve and store project information. Document and capture lessons learned in the WSDOT Lessons Learned database to communicate and share what works and what does not for the purpose of improvement.


  • Current Project Management Plan
  • PMRS Project Reports
  • Recovery Plans
  • Aging plans

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