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7 Tips When Estimating a Project

7 Tips When Estimating a Project
By Chrisitan Bisson

Estimating a project is a very important part of your project, and can often be taken lightly. Truth is, if you avoid having good estimates, you will likely have a hard time staying on budget, and during your project (or after), it may be hard to analyze why you are outside your budget.

There are some key tips that can help you with that:

  1. List what is being estimated

    Seems obvious at first glance, but bear with me. Listing what is being estimated is more than simply writing: Programming = 40h. If you review your estimate 6 months later, you will have absolutely no idea what was included inside that 40h.

    It is important to list each specific item of your project (home page, contact form, shopping cart, login,etc.).

    How detailed must you go? Detailed enough for you to be able to understand it in 6 months, but also, detailed enough to be able to estimate each item easily.

Read the Complete Article

Budgeting in Project Management

Budgeting in Project Management
By Cora Systems

Organizations are facing challenges regarding their budgeting in project management. Pressure to follow through with only the projects that are going to be successfully and carry less risk is mounting. As a project manager you need to keep budgeting queries and be aware of benefits at all times throughout the project. You will need to answer plenty of questions regarding budget such as; How much is this project going to cost us? Have all budgetary items been accounted for including man hours, equipment, outside resources etc. In brief, can this project be delivered successfully within an assigned budget?

How your budget is distributed can determine the success of a project. A project that is completed within the predetermined schedule and reaches the goals set should not in theory be considered a success unless the project meets its budgetary requirements. Therefore project managers would need a high level insight into their financials to ensure the project won’t overrun the initial financial plan. Read the Complete Article

How to Achieve Accurate Project Time and Cost Estimates

How to Achieve Accurate Project Time and Cost Estimates
By Paul A. Weber

What are Time & Cost estimates?

These are the project estimates in relation to how much time is required for your project. Cost is related to how much financial investment will be necessary for your project,

Why Time & Cost estimates are important?

I know you are thinking “This goes without saying”, but let’s explore this point anyway. Time and cost estimates are intertwined, because either one has a direct effect on the other. When determining the cost of a project, or a specific area of a project, time estimates are usually included, because time is literally money. Projects are not only cost determined based on material, but also according to the time estimated for project completion. This time is usually applied to the overall cost of the project because people get paid for the actually work they perform, but also the time taken to complete a task. Read the Complete Article

5 Tips for Keeping Your Project Under Budget

5 Tips for Keeping Your Project Under Budget
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

Two of the most important rules of a project are making sure it stays on time and on budget. Breaking either of these rules will cost you time, money, and you’ll probably have to deal with some unhappy people. Added to all the challenges a project manager must face during a project, working within a budget that he or she didn’t even help create can cause a lost of headaches. This month we’re going to look at five tips to aid you in preventing going over budget in these instances.

Tip 1: Revise the Budget

One of the first tasks you should accomplish is to thoroughly review the given budget. Think through every aspect of the project and determine whether you feel the budget will fulfill the necessary requirements. Is there enough contingency built in? Does it take into account all aspects of the project? Read the Complete Article

Understanding Project Costs and Why They Went Up or Down

Understanding Project Costs and Why They Went Up or Down
By Preben Ormen

When we try to understand project costs and why they went up or down we invariably have to puzzle out the simultaneous effects of several variables. This can get quite complex, but at the heart of the matter is a very simple concept for project variance analysis.

Conceptually, costs are a function of quantities and rates (or prices). Pretty basic, yet still valid after all these years. When we analyse costs, we typically take something calculated now and compare that to some baseline. The baseline is usually the budget or plan numbers. Again, no surprise there.

It’s when we try to decide whether changes were more due to one factor than the other that things can get a little confusing. But cost accountants figured this out a good while back, so we don’t have to. As a matter of fact, they figured it out in so much detail that even that becomes a bit daunting, so let me pare this down to the bare essentials. Read the Complete Article

5 Tips for Efficient Budgeting Within Project Management

5 Tips for Efficient Budgeting Within Project Management
By Cora Systems

Organizations today are facing increasing pressures when it comes to their budgets around project management. There is a real need to only invest in a project that will be successful. Budgeting queries and benefit awareness should be forefront in the mind for the assigned project manager. How much is this project going to cost? Have all budgetary items been accounted for including man hours, equipment, outside resources etc. To sum up, can this project be delivered successfully within an assigned budget?

Budget distribution can determine the success of a project. Any project that is completed within the predetermined schedule and reaches the goals set should not be deemed a success without the project meeting its budgetary requirements. Therefore today, project managers need financial insight to ensure their projects don’t overrun its financial plan.

A few tips to keep in mind when managing your projects to ensure they stay within budget would be:

  1. Review and Forecast the budget frequently: By not examining the project budget forecast frequently can ultimately leave you in a position of no return.
Read the Complete Article

Controlling Schedule and Cost with Project Baselines

Controlling Schedule and Cost with Project Baselines
By Bill Scott, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Stakeholders measure projects by how well they are executed within the project constraints or baselines. A baseline is an approved plan for a portion of a project (+/- changes). It is used to compare actual performance to planned performance and to determine if project performance is within acceptable guidelines. Every project has at least four project baselines. There may be others, depending on the project and definitions used.

Project Baselines

  • Budget
  • Schedule
  • Scope
  • Quality

Schedule and Budget are the focus of this paper and the terms activity and work elements are synonymous. Schedule and cost (budget) are two of the major legs of the project constraint polygon. Without the schedule and budget baselines plans, one does not know where the project stands relative to planned schedule progress or planned budget performance. The schedule and budget baselines, along with other baselines, are developed in the planning phase of the project. Read the Complete Article

How To Save a Failing Project and When To Walk Away From One?

How To Save a Failing Project and When To Walk Away From One?
By Satish Kumar

PMOs and project managers are faced with failing projects more often than they would like to and it often turns out to be a demoralizing experience for all stakeholders. Consequently, it is vital for PMOs to recognize the signs of a failing project and take corrective action before it is too late. In order to engineer a successful turnaround, PMOs and PMs need to watch for certain leading indicators of project failure.

Leading Indicators of Project Failure

Progressive scope creep: While some scope changes may be necessary, constant updates to the project scope indicates that the project sponsor and other stakeholders don’t have their business case buttoned up or the assumptions under which the project was sanctioned are no longer valid.

High rate of churn in project staff: It is normal to have long projects to have planned rotation of staff. Read the Complete Article

Project Cost Planning and Management

Project Cost Planning and Management
By Todd Fleming

Cost management on projects ranges from the sophisticated to the non-existent. The value to managing costs on projects is pretty obvious. By knowing the true cost of project work, you can make decisions on the value of taking on certain work, and you can ensure that the work you have decided to take on is not costing more than it’s worth.

While most people would agree with the value of project cost management, some organizations do not effectively manage project costs. The approach can even differ within a single company. One business unit may be very disciplined, while another may not. This article is intended for companies or business units who do not comprehensively or routinely manage project costs.

Four Components to Cost Management

When you boil down all of the cost related activities on a project, there are really four key components:

  1. Estimating costs – accurately determining what costs will be before the project work is started
  2. Tracking costs – keeping track of all costs on a project, and being able to review cost information in a timely fashion

  3. Controlling costs – being able to influence the spend on a project while it is in progress

  4. Maintaining cost data – archiving cost information in such a way that it can be used for future projects

Estimating Costs

There are a lot of ways to estimate costs. Read the Complete Article

Estimating Is Often Helpful – Estimates Are Often Not

Estimating Is Often Helpful – Estimates Are Often Not
By Esther Derby

Recently, I tweeted, “Estimating is often helpful. Estimates are often not.”

Several people asked, “How can this be?” Let me say more, in more than 140 characters.

Estimating Is Often Helpful

  • Estimating helps when the process of estimating builds shared understanding among the people who want the work done and the people doing the work..
  • Collaborative estimating gives the best results. Diverse experience yields a broader range of perspectives and questions. Questions and perspectives build understanding of the what, why, and who related to the request. That’s helpful.

  • Group estimating reveals differences in knowledge and understanding. Finding those gaps early is helpful.

  • Group estimating surfaces assumptions. When we are aware of our assumptions, we can verify–or debunk– them.

  • When the group knows enough about the “what” to think about the “how,” they can analyze implementation. Working out implementation details reveals more assumptions, and generates more questions.

Read the Complete Article

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