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5 Tips To Help Control Your Project’s Budget
By Christian Bisson

Controlling your project’s budget can be challenging; there are many obstacles that can lower your budget’s health but there are many tactics you can use to keep it healthy.

Here a are a few tips to help:

  1. Reduce scope

    As simple as this may sound, we may be so focused on the client’s requests that considering to reduce scope skips our mind. However, often the scope includes lots of “nice to haves”, which means that your project could be just as successful without a few of the requested features .

    By identifying and removing those “nice to haves”, you can reduce costs and focus on what’s really necessary.

  2. Leverage past work

    Leveraging work from other projects can save a lot of time in a new project. This is often an overlooked strategy and for 2 main reasons:

    1. Lack of visibility of what’s been done: We cannot be aware of everything that is available within an agency. Therefore, there may some parts of past projects that could be re-used that you are not aware of. In order to help with that, communicate with your colleagues, or search through the agency’s archives.
    2. Lack of actual available materials: Not everything that is created is made with flexibility in mind. This means that the chances you can re-use most elements can be very low. Creating something that is re-usable generally takes more time initially, and people will often use the faster path due to tight deadlines or simple lack of time. This approach is good for short term, but on the long term you can leverage less work.

  3. Use experienced resources

    Resources with more experience are bound to cost more, however, they will execute the work in less time. Furthermore, they will require less effort to manage them. All of this will save money.

    Be mindful that depending of the work, experienced resources may not be motivated, an issue that renders them less cost-effective. Make sure that the work is interesting or challenging enough for the people you assign it to.

  4. Reduce meetings

    This one can be tough since people like to set meetings. They give the illusion of being productive when in reality they are known for the exact opposite; unproductive, and often useless. If you have regular status meetings with your team, consider reducing the amount and fill the gap with a few quick emails or maybe even just making sure whatever PM tool you use is updated properly and you can simply have a look.

    If you do some quick math, imagine a weekly 1h meeting with your team consisting of 10 members. This goes on throughout your 6 month project. That’s 260h hours spent in meetings. Opinions vary but meetings are often up to 80-90% inefficient, this means that around 200h are potentially wasted on your project.

  5. Use a smaller team

    Smaller teams cost less and are easier to manage. Furthermore, if no two people share the same role, than there is no need to spend additional time to make sure the team members do not overlap their work.

In order to be able to have a small team, you will need a realistic schedule that enables the team to work with a smaller velocity.

Christian Bisson is a project manager from Montreal, QC, Canada. His PM experience is concentrated in the Internet world, and he helped deliver over a 100 projects over his PM years. You can read more from Christian on his blog.

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