19.1 PRINCE2 guidance on Controlling a Stage
The purpose of the Controlling a Stage process is to assign work to be done, monitor such work, deal with issues, report progress to the project board, and take corrective actions to ensure that the stage remains within tolerance.
The objective of the Controlling a Stage process is to ensure that:
- Attention is focused on delivery of the stage’s products. Any movement away from the direction and products agreed at the start of the stage is monitored to avoid uncontrolled change (‘scope creep’) and loss of focus.
- Risks and issues are kept under control.
- The business case is kept under review.
- The agreed products for the stage are delivered to stated quality standards, within cost, effort and time agreed, and ultimately in support of the achievement of the defined benefits.
- The project management team is focused on delivery within the tolerances laid down.
The Controlling a Stage process describes the work of the project manager in handling the day-to-day management of the stage. This process will be used for each delivery stage of a project. Towards the end of each stage, except the final one, the activities within the Managing a Stage Boundary process will occur.
The Controlling a Stage process is normally first used after the project board authorizes the project, but it may optionally be used during the initiation stage for large or complex projects with a lengthy initiation.
Work packages are used to define and control the work to be done, and also to set tolerances for the team manager(s). In the case where the project manager is fulfilling the team manager role, work packages should still be used to define and control the work of the individual team members being assigned work. Where this is the case, references to team manager throughout the Controlling a Stage process should be regarded as references to the individual team member being assigned work.
Central to the ultimate success of the project is the day-to-day control of the work that is being conducted. Throughout a stage, this will consist of a cycle of:
- Authorizing work to be done
- Monitoring progress information about that work, including signing off completed work packages
- Reviewing the situation (including that for product quality) and triggering new work packages
- Reporting highlights
- Watching for, assessing and dealing with issues and risks
- Taking any necessary corrective action.
Towards the end of the last stage, the Closing a Project process will be invoked.