Project Controller Job Description
Project Controllers, sometimes referred to as Project Control Analysts, are responsible for working within all stages of project management. Their primary role is to work closely with project managers to ensure that all budgeting, scheduling and coordination processes run smoothly. They monitor the progress of a project to ensure that it is working within the confines of set deadlines and budget limitations and generate progress reports to managers. Project Controllers also make suggestions for improvements to project operations as needed. All industries employ Project Controllers.
Project Controllers report to project managers, operations managers and other upper-management personnel involved in particular projects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the expected job growth rate for Project Controllers and all management analysts is 14 percent through 2024. The continued need for companies to control costs and maintain efficient operations are the main reasons for this projected growth.
Project Controller Duties and Responsibilities
To fulfill their responsibilities relating to the timely and cost-efficient completion of various corporate projects, Project Controllers must complete a variety of tasks. We have analyzed several job listings for this occupation and found that the following are among those most often discussed for Project Controllers.
Monitor Project Activities
Project Controllers continually monitor and evaluate each step of a project to ensure that it is meeting budgetary and deadline goals. They report to project managers to discuss the progress of each project and talk about staffing needs, schedule changes, project scope adjustments and more.
Oversee Project Budgeting and Scheduling
Two main areas that Project Controllers focus on is budgeting and scheduling. It is up to Project Controllers to assist in setting a project budget and to be involved in assembling a project’s team and setting task schedules.
Generate Project Reports
From budget to personnel training reports, Project Controllers are responsible for creating and maintaining reports addressing all aspects of project development and completion. They often present the details of these reports during group or one-on-one meetings with senior managers.
Suggest and Manage Changes in Project Processes
Project Controllers need to have the ability to recognize which areas of project development need to be re-addressed in order to maintain efficiency and cost control. They present their ideas to project managers and assume the responsibility of implementing and managing these changes in the project management cycle.
Project Controller Skills
Successful Project Controllers display strong analytical, problem-solving, organizational and written/oral communication skills. They should be detail-oriented team leaders who can consistently meet deadlines and possess the ability to work independently as needed. Computer, interpersonal and customer service skills are necessary. Project Controllers must be able to multi-task and demonstrate the ability to work with a diverse work group of vendors, executive managers, subcontractors, consultants and other professionals. In addition to these skills, it is important that Project Controllers display the following capabilities:
- Evaluating step-by-step project management processes.
- Selecting, training and overseeing project team members.
- Creating and adjusting project budgets.
- Forecasting project goals and completion.
- Developing project scheduling, budgeting and progress reports.
Project Controller Tools of the Trade: The completion of all job responsibilities often requires that Project Controllers use or have knowledge of various tools and systems. If you are interested in becoming a Project Controller, you should be able to use the following:
Microsoft Office applications – from Word documents to spreadsheets, Project Controllers should have strong knowledge of Microsoft applications to create reports and present information in Excel and PowerPoint.
Project management software - It is helpful for Project Controllers to utilize project management software to assist in project scheduling, forecasting and other important aspects of the project management process.
Accounting software - with budget creation and monitoring a major task for Project Controllers, they should be able to utilize accounting software to assist in setting and monitoring costs of a project.
Project Controller Education and Training
Most employers seek Project Controllers who hold a bachelor’s degree in business, business administration, finance or accounting. They should be trained on or familiar with project administration software and processes. In some cases, Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is preferred.
Project Controller Resources
Use the links we have provided below to learn more details about being a Project Controller. You can review books, online publications and other resources that reveal more details about Project Controller responsibilities and professional development opportunities.
International Journal of Project Management – This online publication contains helpful articles relevant to Project Controllers that focus on time, change and cost management, leadership practices, strategic planning and more.
Project Control Academy – Both experienced and beginning Project Controllers will find valuable training tools and resources available from this organization. Online courses and workshops cover such topics as applied project controls, project scheduling and Earned Value Management (EVM) principles. The site’s blog offers insight into best practices relating to scheduling, planning and cost estimating as well as information about career certifications, conferences and more.
AACE International – From networking opportunities to online learning tools, AACE International provides various resources for project managers, Project Controllers and other related professionals. The organization also hosts meetings, provides continuing education modules and offers professional certifications in areas of planning & scheduling, cost management and estimating.
Essentials of Project Control ed. by Jeffrey K. Pinto and Jeffrey W. Trailer – An assembly of articles from professional project management publications and organizations, this book describes the planning and organizational practices that all Project Controllers should adhere to.
Project Planning, Scheduling and Control Fifth Edition by James P. Lewis, Ph.D. – From managing teams to meetings, this book covers all of the essential information you would need to know as a Project Controller. Supported by examples that show how each concept is applied in the real world.
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