3 quick-and-dirty project management budget tips

3 quick-and-dirty project management budget tips

A disorganized project can be extremely costly. Our three powerful project management budget tips will help you take back control of your project budgets.

A project manager’s budget is often directly related to the time it will take to deliver a project, or (as is more likely) deliver several projects. A project running over its deadline usually means also going over budget. This is bad news for the project manager, the project management office (PMO) overseeing the project, as well as all the other stakeholders. If the project is in the public sector, you can add on top of everything else the ire of the public.

In this post, we will look at some of the challenges of keeping to your financial plans while executing a project and suggest several project management budget tips that you can use, including the role resource management software can play.

The challenges of project budget management

A project’s success or failure can come down to whether or not it has stayed within budget. The key outcomes of the project may have been achieved and other less quantifiable measures of success may have been accomplished. But if it costs more than projected it can be considered a failure by many: both those involved and those looking on.

So, getting a project completed on time and to budget is critical for the overall success of the mission.

How not to 'Excel' at budget management…

…or, in fact, project management at all. Microsoft Excel is great for many tasks that a business needs to complete every day, but attempting to turn it into a project management tool is shortsighted and can be just plain unproductive.

This is because Excel is not a project management tool. Unless you are executing a very small and simple project, using Excel will take too long and be extremely tedious. It lacks the visibility that even the most standard projects require, including resource management and budget management, and this lack of visibility can create information silos which only adds to the chaos.

3 important project management budget tips

1. Get flexible

If there is one constant when it comes to executing a project, it’s the changes to project plans and estimations that PMOs must learn to navigate. This is another reason why a tool like Excel is limiting to budget management.

First, it’s difficult to see where changes to the project might come from and, second, rearranging budget requirements from a giant spreadsheet or from multiple spreadsheets will be a nightmare. Instead, project managers need a way to adjust their budget to factor in the changes quickly, and in a manner which allows everyone else working on the project to understand what’s going on.

2. See the bigger picture

A project is made up of lots of different tasks, of course, but to make sure resources and budgets are on track, a project manager must be able to see their projects from a higher viewpoint. They likely already know that successful budget management for projects involves the managing of individual project tasks, but also aspects such as timeframes and resources must be accounted for. Therefore, it’s important to have access to powerful visibility. Managers who lack visibility can struggle to react to changes quickly enough to avoid setbacks that cause projects to overshoot on both deadline and budget.

3. See project budgets through a resource management lens

Perhaps the best way to manage a project’s budget is to understand the project from a resource management perspective. Focusing on resource portfolio management (RPM) can give a project manager a much better overall indication of the health of their projects and available budget.

Sophisticated resource management tools let them see how shifting resources around will affect the outcome of a project—from the perspective of volume of assignments given to a specific employee or the kind of task they are asked to do. Understanding this can give a project manager a much better idea of the knock-on effect on budgets and deadlines. This way they can work in a way that will have the most efficient outcomes.

Choose a tool that’s right for your needs

For many businesses, the inclination when it comes to project management is to go out and try to find a project portfolio management (PPM) solution that will solve all their problems. And while large PPM solutions can be very powerful they often don’t have the right capability or nuance when it comes to resource management, flexibility and visibility to handle the most complex project budgets and timelines.

This is where Tempus Resource comes in. A dedicated Resource Portfolio Management solution gives project and resource managers more control and insight into their projects. This can help them put in place more realistic timeframes, more precise budget estimations, and react quicker to project changes, which is ideal for not only completing a project on time but also to budget.

For more information on the benefits of resource portfolio management and how it can help your project budgets, get in touch with us today.

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