The Basics of Control Accounts and Work Packages

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Filed Under: Program Management

When doing Earned Value Management within a standard project structure there can be a defined level that is considered a "control account". A control account is normally the intersection of the functional organization doing the work and the Project organizational hierarchy. This is typically defined as the level that you can aggregate BCWS, BCWP, and Actuals AND is a level that is controlled by a single organization. Below a control account is a "Work Package". The work package is the level of the project that the user plans and a takes status on for EV.

Below is the general hierarchy concept of organizing and maintaining a control account or work package:
• A work package is BELOW a control account. However, it does not have to be directly below a control account.
• You cannot have a control account below another control account.
• You cannot have a work package below another work package.
• Management Reserve and Undistributed Budget cannot be part of the control account hierarchy. In other words
o Cannot be an object that has a Control Account defined BELOW it.
o Cannot be an object that has a Control Account defined ABOVE it.

Once the project structure is defined into control accounts and work packages responsibility and ownership can now be established. This requires assigning Control Account Managers or CAMs to play an essential role in Earned Value Management. They are responsible for the planning, coordination, and achievement of all work within a control account. They also provide authorization for all scope, technical and cost changes for their respective control accounts.

Article written by Ryan Euler, Dassian Senior Consultant