The position of Control Account Manager (CAM) is rarely encountered outside of organizations that practice earned value. Whether the earned value system is contractually mandated or employed as best practice, the CAM has a critical role in keeping the project on track and following earned value methods that ensure timely, accurate and above all honest earned value reporting.
To put it briefly, the CAM is the single point of contact for management of the Control Account’s scope, schedule, budget and technical performance.
The CAM is primarily responsible to manage the cost, schedule and technical performance of the Control Account. The three critical elements to successful control account management are Responsibility, Authority and Accountability (sometimes referred to as the RAA for CAMs). These three elements are critical to the success of the role. If one of these elements is not provided to the CAM, their job will be harder to succeed in. These elements also illustrate why the CAM role is usually considered a senior position in most organizations and generally reporting directly to the program manager.
Now let’s take a look at the RAA elements in more detail.
The CAM is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of Control Account budgets, schedules, statement of work (SOW) and technical performance measurement (TPM), including:
- Definition of the tasks required to accomplish the technical SOW, their logical sequence and interrelationships in the schedule necessary for optimization of the completion of the scope.
- Assurance that the scheduled activities for the Control Account have a realistic duration and practical performance logic.
- Maintaining the applicable portions of the Contract WBS Dictionary and assuring that it ties to the contractual Statement of Work (SOW).
- Definition of budget requirements for each task identified and their correlation to the Basis of Estimate.
- Making approvals to the Control Account Authorization (CAA) document which includes the preparation of the Control Account Plan (CAP) that details all tasks, their chronological placement and their resource budgetary requirements.
- Authorizing changes to the CAA.
- Proactively managing the personnel performing the Control Account’s scope of work to assure that all requirements are compliant with the SEMP for their Control Account.
- Identifying, negotiating and implementing required vertical and horizontal interfaces.
- Managing Customer Expectation Agreements (CEA) and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with other organizations and programs.
- Reviewing and approving all accurately reported hours and dollars charged to the Control Account.
- Periodically preparing the Control Account variance analysis reports providing explanations, impact statements and corrective action narratives for deviations from expected performance.
- Developing, managing and implementing corrective actions for variances.
- Maintaining an awareness of Subcontract Data Requirement List (SDRL) items and other applicable contract deliverables.
- Preparing Estimates to Completion (ETCs) for remaining Control Account work scope.
- During the execution of the Control Account, providing forecast dates for accomplishing remaining activities and milestones in the Control Account schedule.
- Managing the integration and monitoring the development of any critical technologies.
- Informing management of critical issues concerning Control Account performance.
- Identifying and quantifying potential risks and make effective use of available risk management tool as required.
- Using the baseline change control process for any and all revisions to the Control Account’s baseline scope, schedule or budget.
- Submitting Budget Change Notices (BCN) as needed to document all revisions necessary to the Control Account Plan (CAP).
- Proactively managing all subcontractor effort which affects the Control Account’s performance.
- Leading or participating in any procurement decisions that affect the Control Account.
- Maintaining the CAM Notebook in a current and accurate manner.
- Supporting all customer meetings and data requests regarding the Control Account.
Control Account Manager Authority
In order to enable the CAM to assume the responsibilities defined above the CAM must be authorized to approve all work assignments, documents and commitments affecting their Control Account, including:
- Approve the CAA documents, including the applicable CAP(s).
- Co-approve the procurement plan for material used in completing the Control Account scope of work.
- Approve Control Account Baseline Change Requests (BCRs).
- Authorize and coordinate work performed by functional departments on scope within the Control Account.
- Determine the schedule and prioritize work.
- Approve hours charged to the work supporting the Control Account.
- Approve material and other direct costs charged to the work supporting the Control Account.
- Identify potential technical, schedule and cost risks and enter them into the risk management process.
Control Account Manager Accountability
The CAM will be accountable to the Program Manager for Control Account Performance, including:
- Completing the Control Account scope of work within the schedule period.
- The completion of the Control Account scope of work within the resources available and authorized.
- Achieving the technical performance goals for the scope of work defined consistent with the applicable SEMP.
- Achieving the technical quality required for the Control Account’s deliverables.
- Making sure that the reported Earned Value performance is based on qualified back-up data.
- Identification, classification and mitigation of all schedule, technical and cost risks associated with the Control Account.