CSIA Best Practices offer project management planning guidance

The Control System Integrators Association Best Practices and Benchmarks covers the use of project plans, providing advice on project management, including the following tips.


The Control System Integrators Association Best Practices and Benchmarks, now in its fourth edition, covers the use of project plans. Information below on project management was adapted from section 5.3 of the manual.

Develop a project management plan

The project management plan incorporates the output of other sales and planning processes, including:

  • Sales and client needs analysis
  • Proposal
  • Historical information related to project and client
  • Client’s and integrator’s organizational policies (e.g., required templates or forms)
  • Existence of client project execution methodologies and standards
  • Constraints and assumptions. 

Content should follow the integrator’s defined project planning methodology.

Review the project management plan with project members and then present the plan to the client.

Review the plan to ensure the execution process is understood and meets client expectations. The size and complexity of the project will determine the level and extent to which the plan will be reviewed. Ultimately, the review process allows for client buy-in and approval. Review and approval processes should follow those defined in the integrator’s project methodology. 

Hold a kick-off meeting with the client.

Review the plan

The integrator should review the project management plan with the client. If not already covered as part of the project plan review, be sure to address and agree upon:

  • Commercial issues
  • Scope of work and change order control method
  • Shipping requirements

Clarify expectations

During the kick-off meeting, clarify expectations by reviewing and addressing:

  • Project quality plan intentions
  • Project process intentions and client’s role
  • Items that require client’s signed approval
  • Configuration management requirements
  • Known project risks and a risk management plan
  • Format and content of physical deliverables
  • Roles and expectations during commissioning of the final product
  • Other general project execution issues.

Manage the project according to the project management plan.

Continuously manage and update the project baseline and other elements of the plan throughout the life of the project as status and requirements change. Any changes should be reflected in the project management plan. Monitor performance and take corrective actions based on the plan. 

Gain approvals along the way

Get formal approvals during project execution.

Some suggested key items for which to obtain approvals are:

  • Functionality and interfaces to be delivered (requirements and specifications)
  • Project technical risk plan and the associated contingencies
  • Project quality plan (including test plan)
  • Architecture and design reviews
  • User screen format, content, and navigation
  • Panel drawings for release to vendor
  • Resources, schedule, and scope changes.

Jeff Miller, PMP, is director of project management at Interstates Control Systems Inc., and chair of the CSIA Best Practices Committee.- Jeff Miller, PMP, is director of project management at Interstates Control Systems Inc., and chair of the CSIA Best Practices Committee. For more information about CSIA, visit www.controlsys.org. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

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Robert , PA, United States, 04/02/13 02:37 PM:

Project Management Plans are the key to project sucess. Jeff did a great job of explaing this crucial step. This is an example of the valuable content in the CSIA Best Practices manual, a guide on how to run a really good CSI company. Thanks, Jeff.
Sarah , , 11/25/13 03:40 AM:

great post! very informative. i've learned more about project planning strategies at http://pioneeripm.com/en/blog
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