Predictive, or plan-based, project management is a linear, sequential approach where the project scope, time, and cost are determined in the early stages of the project life cycle. High levels of control are essential to ensure that the project follows the designated path and meets the predetermined objectives.

This article will detail the elements necessary for effectively documenting the project controls for predictive, plan-based projects.

Table of Contents

Documentation Process

1. Project Control Plans

The first step in documenting project controls for a predictive, plan-based project is to outline the control plan. This outline should define, among other things, how the project goals will be met, the processes and tools that will be used, the roles and responsibilities within the team, the deliverables, and the milestones.

2. Risk Management Plans

Risk management is vital in plan-based projects, given that potential risks are considered and planned for well in advance. Documenting risks involves profiling potential risks, identifying triggers, and outlining risk mitigation strategies.

3. Quality Management Plans

The quality management plan forms part of the project control documentation. It outlines the quality standards to be met and details processes for quality control and assurance, along with quality roles and responsibilities.

4. Procurement Plan

The procurement plan outlines what products/services will be procured, from whom, the budget, along with the procurement schedules and management procedures.

5. Change Management Plan

The change management plan forms part of the project control documentation. This plan outlines how changes to the project will be managed – who can approve them, what process must be followed, how they should be recorded, and so on.

Effective change management is especially crucial in predictive projects due to the high level of control and planning involved.

6. Communication Plans

Communication plans should be detailed, outlining what will be communicated, how, when, to whom, and by whom. It also includes the processes and procedures for dealing with communication issues.

Tools for Documenting Project Controls

Several software tools can be utilized to document these control activities, such as Microsoft Project, ProjectLibre, and Smartsheet. Using these tools, project managers can automate and streamline the process of documenting project controls while ensuring consistency and accuracy.


Documentation in a predictive, plan-based approach provides a firm foundation for managing your project and mitigating risks. As an aspiring CAPM, mastering the documentation of project controls in a predictive, plan-based approach, would be a big step towards achieving your certification and being able to manage projects successfully. It’s vital to remember, however, that while documentation is indispensable, it needs to be flexible enough to allow for adaptations and changes as the project progresses. Proper documentation helps ensure consistency and prevents miscommunications, making it an essential part of project management.

Practice Test

True or False: Project controls are only necessary for predictive, plan-based projects.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Project controls are essentials for all types of projects, not just predictive, plan-based ones.

In regards to plan-based projects, project documentation:

  • a) Is unnecessary
  • b) Needs to be updated constantly
  • c) Only needs to happen at the beginning of the project
  • d) Is a strategy to deal with risks only

Answer: b) Needs to be updated constantly

Explanation: It’s essential to regularly update project documents to reflect the current status of the project, to track progress, changes, and updates.

True or False: Predictive, plan-based projects can be executed without any detailed plan.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Predictive, plan-based projects necessitate detailed planning from the beginning as they follow a clear and fixed path.

Who is responsible for documenting project controls in a predictive, plan-based project?

  • a) The Project Manager
  • b) The Stakeholders
  • c) The Project Team
  • d) All of the Above

Answer: a) The Project Manager

Explanation: As the lead, the project manager is responsible for documenting and managing project controls.

True or False: Project controls include risk management and quality control.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Project controls encompass all aspects of project management, including risk management and quality control.

What is the primary purpose of documenting project controls?

  • a) To show your team’s progress
  • b) To keep a repository of outdated information
  • c) To provide a basis for decision-making
  • d) None of the above

Answer: c) To provide a basis for decision-making

Explanation: Documenting project controls keeps track of changes, and it helps in effective decision-making and managing the project effectively.

True or False: In a predictive, plan-based project, changes to the project controls need not be documented as they don’t affect the project’s end result.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Every change in project controls should be documented as they can significantly impact the project’s outcome.

Project controls should include:

  • a) Timelines and schedules
  • b) Checklists and milestones
  • c) Risk management plans
  • d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

Explanation: Project controls encompass comprehensive aspects such as timelines, milestones, checklists, and risk management plans

True or False: In predictive, plan-based projects, project controls should be reviewed and updated regularly.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Regular review and update of project controls ensure the project stays on track and keeps all stakeholders up-to-date.

Project documentation is important because:

  • a) It helps in risk identification
  • b) It aids in project auditing
  • c) It helps to manage changes
  • d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

Explanation: Project documentation aids in risk identification, project auditing, and managing changes effectively.

Interview Questions

What is a predictive, plan based project?

A predictive, plan based project is a type of project that is fully planned in advance, where the scope, duration, and costs are defined at the beginning of the project. This type of project follows a sequential design process.

What are the main project controls used in predictive, plan-based projects?

The main project controls used in predictive projects are scope, schedule, and cost management, alongside quality control, risk, procurement and stakeholder management.

What is scope management in terms of project controls?

Scope management involves defining and managing all the work required to complete the project successfully. It is important to prevent scope creep, which could lead to projects exceeding their allocated resources.

How is schedule management applied in predictive project controls?

Schedule management comprises the listing of a project’s milestones, activities, and deliverables, usually with intended start and finish dates. In predictive, plan-based projects, the schedule is usually defined and approved at the beginning.

What entails cost management in terms of project controls?

Cost management involves planning and managing the budget of a project. This includes resource planning, cost budgeting, and cost control to ensure the project stays within its allocated budget.

How does quality control function within project controls?

Quality control involves ensuring that the project and its deliverables meet the established quality standards. It typically involves regular inspection and testing throughout the project lifecycle.

What is risk management as part of project controls?

Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and controlling threats to the project’s success. In predictive projects, potential risks and their mitigation strategies are typically defined upfront.

Explain procurement management within project controls?

Procurement management involves purchasing the goods and services needed for the project. It involves planning, execution, and control of procurement related activities.

How is stakeholder management applied in project controls?

Stakeholder management involves identifying and analyzing stakeholders, and developing strategies to communicate and engage with them. Good stakeholder management can help ensure that the project’s deliverables are aligned with stakeholder needs and expectations.

Do predictive, plan-based projects allow for changes or flexibility in project controls?

Predictive, plan-based projects are generally less flexible, as they are fully planned at the beginning. However, changes can be accommodated through processes like change management, although this often affects the project’s cost and schedule.

Why is documentation crucial in predictive, plan-based projects?

Documentation is used to capture all the decisions, processes, tasks, and lessons learned during a project. This helps in maintaining transparency, enhances communication among team members, and serves as a valuable resource for future similar projects.

What tools can be used to document project controls in predictive projects?

Tools such as Gantt charts, flow charts, Pareto diagrams, histograms, scatter plots, and control charts can be used. Software tools for project management, such as MS Project or Primavera, can also be used.

What are some of the key elements to include when documenting project controls?

Key elements include the project plan, scope statement, work breakdown structure, schedule, budget, quality standards, risk register, stakeholder register, and project charter.

How often should the documentation of project controls be updated or reviewed?

The documentation should be reviewed frequently throughout the project’s lifecycle. Major changes or events may trigger a review and update.

What role does the project manager play in documenting project controls?

The project manager is responsible for ensuring all project controls are documented properly and kept current. The project manager also utilizes this documentation to monitor and control the project’s progress.

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