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Samer el Barakeh was born in Lebanon, 1973. He completed his Bachelor in Engineering-CCE at Beirut Arab University-Lebanon in 1996 with honours. Samer was granted Masters Degree in Project Management (MPM) from the University of Sydney-Australia with honours. He also gained the Project Management Professional (PMP) Credential from The Project Management Institute (PMI). Samer is a member of the Order of Architects and Engineers in Lebanon since 1996, The Project Management Institute (PMI), Arabian Gulf Chapter (AGC-PMI) and Lebanon Chapter-PMI. During his 13 years of professional experience in Lebanon, Australia and Saudi Arabia, Samer held many positions among them: Telecommunication Site Engineer, Site Manager, Low Current Service Head, and he is currently Senior Systems Analyst at the General Project Construction Division. Samer is a Project Management Consultant and Training Provider for universal organizations like Business Management Consultants (USA) www.bmc-online.com and PMCTQuest (Canada) www.pmctquest.com Samer is a Registered Training Provider for Project Management Professional (PMP), and he provides training in Program Management, Portfolio Management,PMO...
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July 1, 2007

Practical Solutions 6 of 6: Understanding The Paradox of Control

Project’s control is a challenge. In our Project, we developed a rigid control process with metrics scattered over all project processes. Corrective actions were implemented whenever an indicator slipped outside accepted boundary. However, there was a decrease in sponsor’s satisfaction along the way. We performed a system thinking analysis to identify root causes and find best solutions as shown below

Post Project Review: We learned that Project Manager must be vigilant in controlling the project outcomes in a prevailing climate of change and uncertainty.
While those affect both the Project Manager and other stakeholders, it was erroneous to expect the project to maintain delivering within agreed boundaries (STCQ) where predictable deviations from the plan are viewed by senior stakeholders as “out of control”.
The “zone” of middle management is bounded from the lower and upper sides by project managers and senior stakeholders respectively (shown in figure below).
Project managers sense strategic directions/change by interacting with this zone. The prevailing assumption that this zone will always react to strategic management stimuli in the same way was here questioned! The reason to which is that the only certainty in the “zone” is unpredictability; Strategic and senior managers were made aware of this fact for future projects.
Controls comprise the craft of maintaining time, cost and quality by means of project control processes (process flow diagrams, responsibility activity matrix, QM, assessment criteria, KPIs and the like) along with the art of managing relationships with stakeholders and the forces they exerted in the “zone” (Theilen, 1999).
As a result, our Project managers gained a broader understanding of the three dimensions of control (figure below) and they comprehended that the “Control Process” is closely related to other Management Processes, like Stakeholder Management.

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