The Control Account Manager or CAM plays a critical role in an Earned Value Management System. He/She is responsible for the planning, coordination and achievement of all work within a Control Account and provides a single authority for all scope, technical and cost issues for the CA – not an easy task. Three attributes that a CAM must have are umbrella are divided into three categories: Responsibility, Authority and Accountability. Without these three critical attributes a CAM will not be able to perform effectively and will simple become an embedded reporter in the Program.

A CAM must be given full responsibility for managing the cost, schedule and technical performance of the Control Account and for supporting all customer meetings and data requests pertaining to the Control Account. To be effective, the CAM must have ownership of the budget and full authority to direct resources. Specifically, the CAM should be responsible for:

  • Assigned portions (CAs) within the project Integrated Master Schedule (IMS)
  • Establishment and maintenance of the Control Account Plan (CAP) including Planned Value (PV) or Budgeted Cost for Work Scheduled (BCWS)
  • Verification and control of costs charged to the Control Account including Actual Cost (AC) or Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP)
  • Determination of work accomplished including Earned Value (EV) or Budgeted Cost for Work Performed (BCWP)
  • Flowing down Control Account work scope to supporting departments, and tasking contributors via the agreement of work packages.
  • Conducting formal cost and schedule variance analysis and the development of any recovery plans required to recover schedule or cost variances.

The CAM must have authority to review and approve all work assignments, documents and commitments involving the Control Account. Without this authority, the CAM becomes simply an "embedded reporter" who cannot act on the information they get from the EVM System. Examples of items the CAM should have authority for are:

  • Approval of the Control Account Authorization documents.
  • Co-approval of the Make / Buy Plan for material used to perform the Control Account scope of work.
  • Definition and agreement with the Project Manager on the cost account work scope, schedule and budget.
  • Monitoring of all CA activities through the review of work packages.
  • Identify potential technical, schedule and cost risks and enter them into the FCS Risk Management Process.

Finally, a CAM is accountable to the Program Manager for Control Account Performance. Without appropriate authority the CAM cannot be held accountable for the CA’s performance. Specifically the CAM is authorized by and accountable to the PM for resources to complete cost, schedule and technical objectives.

CAMs also participate in Program Reviews, Integrated Baseline Reviews (IBRs) and other project or management reviews. Preparing for these reviews is a critical piece of the CAM’s role and training for how to manage these can make them more management.

CAMs should also be using information from or proficient in several software tools to assist in managing the Control Account. These might include the scheduling engine, the cost engine or the EVM reporting tool. Some examples include:

Pinnacle offers mentoring and training services to help CAMs prepare for IBRs and CAM notebook preparation. We recommend some specific tasks for new CAMs :

  • Initial background and training on EVMS
  • Taking on the responsibility for Scope, Schedule and Budget
  • Build and refine your Control Account Plans (CAPs)
    • Scope / WBS Dictionary
    • Schedule and Integrated Master Schedule
    • Resources / Budget
    • Risks
  • Integrate your CAPs with other CAPs – horizontal integration
  • Preparations for the Integrated Baseline Review

Pinnacle has been guiding and helping Control Account Managers in a number of different situations:

  • Training CAMs in new EVMS implementations
  • Development of Control Accounts, Work Packages and Integrtaed Master Schedules
  • IBR preparation for new and experienced CAMs
  • IBR Corrective actions
  • Development of CAM notebooks
  • And training on the tools listed above.

Contact Pinnacle to discuss your needs regarding your Control Account Managers.

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