Total Project Control: A Practitioner's Guide to Managing Projects as Investments, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Total Project Control

A Practitioner's Guide to Managing Projects as Investments, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Stephen A. Devaux

CRC Press

310 pages | 104 B/W Illus.

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There is often a deep disconnect between the project team’s goals and those of the organization. Senior management wants "profitable" projects, but is only able to quantify its wishes in terms of the traditional project management elements: schedule and cost. To operate smoothly, the entire organization must be driven by the single goal of project profitability. Total Project Control presents valuable enhancements to the traditional project management approach, introducing new metrics and techniques for assessing the performance and profitability of projects.

Demonstrating how to maximize the business value of a project, this book discusses new profitability-based data metrics, such as expected monetary value (EMV), expected project profit (EPP), Devaux's Index of Project Performance (DIPP), critical path drag, drag cost, and the cost of leveling with unresolved bottlenecks (CLUB). The impact of implementing these metrics can be far reaching. Not only will good management decisions, at both the project and executive levels, be supported by quantitative data, but bad decisions will become harder to justify.

This book shows how to compute and use the new metrics to rightsize staffing levels for projects, programs, and organizations. It also explains what every project manager needs to know about earned value tracking: its uses, abuses, value, distortions, and potential fixes. The book then extends these metrics into techniques for indexing, tracking, progressing, and improving the business value of projects.

See What’s New in the Second Edition:

  • Includes new diagrams and new ways of computing critical path drag in complex networks
  • Introduces DIPP Performance Index tracking
  • Offers new exercises in how to compute critical path drag and drag cost and use them to maximize project value
  • Focuses on topics senior management needs to be assured the project team is using to maximize project profitability


"Stephen Devaux puts forth a manifesto for how project management can drive profits when projects are managed and measured as investments. Not only is Total Project Control a practitioner’s guide, it is also an executive’s overview of how to view projects and invest wisely for returns to the bottom line. The benefit of how Devaux lays out the text is that a project manager can use it a quick resource for any phase of the project without having to read it cover to cover. The first edition of Total Project Control was a breakthrough of insights into effective project management. The second edition crystalizes the concept of how projects must be considered an investment, not just a set of tasks to delivering a product or service."

— Edward R. Equi, Senior Research Scientist at MIT

"This book provides a lot of food for thought on improving the decision making process which drives business value from projects. Not just from an academic standpoint, but with tools that can be implemented by the project team. I find it to be a valuable contribution to advancing the state of the art in project management."

— Bernard Ertl

"This is a very unique and interesting textbook for PM practitioners. The author proposes several new metrics such as DIPP, drag, drag cost, DRED, DPI and so on. They were developed through real world experiences and needs. Explanations on building WBS and calculating CPM are also very useful and practical. The author’s view; "the project: is an investment" will lead the readers to awareness of project values. This is very important, since the ultimate objective of project management is to maximize the project value."

— Tomoichi Sato, JGC Corporation

Table of Contents




About the author

The Nature of a Project

The definition of a project

The multiproject portfolio

The tracking DIPP: Setting the baseline for expected project profitability

Tracking EMV and the DIPP at the portfolio level



An Overview of TPC Planning

The benefits of project planning

The purpose of a project plan



Corollary and paradox

Empirical evidence for the value of planning when facing uncertainty

How and what to plan

Scope/cost/schedule integration

Planning and tracking the DIPP

TPC at the organizational level


Overview of Planning the Work

Quantifying the project triangle

Estimating the minimum value/cost of time

Optimizing the DIPP at the micro level

Using TPC on the MegaMan project


Planning the Scope

The scope document

Appendix A: Assumptions

The fused memo

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

The OBS and the WBS

Functional versus product WBS

Breaking down the WBS

Coding the WBS

The detail-level activities

Six guidelines for developing the WBS

Two rules of thumb for the level of detail

The WBS as the tool for managing scope change

The value breakdown structure

The value of computing value

Estimating and accuracy

Scheduling I: The Critical Path Method (CPM)

History of the critical path method

Using CPM

Duration estimates

Management reserve, contingency, and padding

The impact of padding

Estimating padding

Working to the DIPP

The impact of multitasking

Quantifying the impact of multitasking


Ancestors and descendants

CPM logic diagrams with parallel activities

The forward and backward passes

Formula for the forward pass

Formula for the backward pass

Total float

Free float

Scheduling constraints

Using CPM to optimize the schedule

Critical path drag

Computing drag

Using drag

Using drag to recover a schedule

Computing an activity’s true cost

Scheduling II: The Precedence Diagram Method (PDM)

FS, SS, FF, and SF

Lag and lead

Two more ways to shorten the project

The new product project with PDM

Computing drag in a PDM network diagram

Was PDM really an advancement?

A quick method of computing drag in SS relationships

Generating the CPM schedule for the MegaMan project

Using drag to optimize the PDM schedule

The doubled resource estimated duration (DRED)

The reverse critical path anomaly

Summary of the benefits of CPM

Other methods of scheduling projects

The Gantt chart

Backward scheduling

The program evaluation and review technique (PERT)

Monte Carlo risk simulations

Activity-Based Resource Assignments

Activity-based resource assignments (ABRA)

Assigning the resources to the MegaMan project

Project management work and costs

Total budget and starting DIPP

Analyzing and implementing the DRED

Making the scheduling decisions

TPC value scheduling


Resource Scheduling and Leveling

Resource leveling of the critical path

Resource leveling on the critical path

Time-limited versus resource-limited resource leveling

The CLUB (cost of leveling with unresolved bottlenecks)

Resource schedule drag

Resource availability drag (RAD)

The formula for computing RAD

The value of RAD

The resource-leveled schedule for the MegaMan project

Rightsizing a project-driven organization

HR and the CLUBs

Multiproject resource scheduling

Tracking and Controlling the Project

Reporting progress

The planned DIPP baseline

Variances in the actual DIPP

The DIPP performance index (DPI)

Working to maximize the DPI





About the Author

Bajan-born Steve Devaux is a project management theorist, consultant, and academic. He developed TPC, an ROI-based approach to project planning and analysis, as well as such new techniques as critical path drag and the value breakdown structure (VBS). He founded Analytic Project Management in 1992 and has consulted to industries ranging from software to aerospace. He has an M. Sc. in project management from Northeastern University and has taught graduate courses at Brandeis University, Suffolk University, and University of West Indies at Barbados.

About the Series

Systems Innovation Book Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Engineering (General)
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Engineering
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Operations Research