There are numerous definitions of Project Controls used across the industries and indeed across companies within industries. For the sake of clarity and simplicity, Project Control is defined as follows;
Project Control is a series of processes and steps like data collation (both past and present) for management and analytical purposes used to predict, understand and constructively influence the Time and Cost outcomes of a Project or Program; through the communication of information in formats that assist effective management and decision making. This definition encompasses all stages (Engineering, Procurement, Construction & Commissioning) of a Project or Program’s lifecycle from the initial estimating needed to ‘size’ a proposed project, up to reflective learning (lessons learned) and the scientific analysis needed to understand the causes of failure and develop claims.
Put simply, Project Control encompasses the people, processes and tools used to plan, manage and mitigate cost and schedule issues and any risk events that may impact a project. In other words, Project Control is essentially equivalent to the Project Management Process stripped of its facilitating sub-processes for safety, quality, organizational, behavioral, and communications management.
The ultimate purpose of Project Control is to manage work during each stage of the implementation lifecycle and to prepare the project for the next stage.