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Control Chart vs Run Chart

Control Chart vs Run Chart

If you enjoyed reading this post, check out all of our post on PMP Concepts Learning Series.

Designed to help those that are preparing to take the PMP or CAPM Certification Exam, each post within this series presents a comparison of common concepts that appear on the PMP and CAPM exams.

Control Chart vs Run Chart

There are a number of charts used to evaluate and analyze quality results within a project. Two charts that are similar and often confused are a control chart and a run chart.

Control Chart

Control charts are used to determine whether or not a process is stable or has predictable performance.

Typically, control charts identify upper and lower control limits to determine the acceptable range of test results.

Control charts commonly have three types of lines:

  • Upper and lower specification limits
  • Upper and lower control limits
  • Planned or goal value

Control charts illustrate how a process behaves over time and defines the acceptable range of results. When a process is outside the acceptable limits, the process is adjusted.

Control charts can be used for both project and product life cycle processes. For example, for project processes a control chart can be used to determine whether cost variances or schedule variances are outside of acceptable limits.

Control Chart

Run Chart

A run chart is a line graph that shows data points over time. Run charts are helpful in identifying trends and predicting future performance.

Run charts are similar to control charts, plotting data results over time, however there are no defined control limits.

Run Chart


A control chart may be used for a pharmaceutical company that is testing a new pain medication. The drug must stay effective in the system for a minimum of three hours but last no more than five hours, to prevent accidental overdose.

The mean time or goal efficacy duration would be four hours, with three hours the lower control limit and five hours the upper control limit.

A run chart may be used to plot the temperature within the manufacturing plan every day for a month to determine a trend.


While both a run chart and a control chart plot data points over time or batches, the control chart is enhanced with defined control limits and a target or goal delineation.

See all posts in our PMP Concepts Learning Series


  1. Pamela on July 6, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Great stuff! Really appreciate the videos and explanations. Many thanks

  2. Proquo on June 18, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Control Chart and Run Chart are the two main charts which are frequently used to determine the quality and progress of the project. your article gives a detailed explanation of both the charts.

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