If you think about it, there are several types of “success” when it comes to finishing a project. There’s the success of on-point delivery in line with the desired timeframe. Then, there’s the adherence to what the client expected of your work’s quality. Lastly, there’s the “Hey, we didn’t spend that much more than what we expected to” project budgeting success.
Of course, there’s also the most treasured triumph of just cramming all three of these in the ultimate project management achievement. However, way too often this desired project management Grail remains out of reach for many teams.
And one of the most critical reasons for that mishap is not monitoring and calculating a project’s budget properly. We thought about writing out a few things that you can do to avoid such an unpleasant situation. Here they are.
Getting The Project Rolling: The Importance of Estimates
Let’s make it clear from the get-go: you need an estimate. No matter the scope of your project, its timeframe and other project specifics, you can’t do without a project budgeting estimate. It should be:
- Realistic – Based on the workpower you have and the resources you can utilize for this project.
- Extensive – Takes all your little project management/workforce details in mind, including phases, activities, possible dangers.
- A bit liberal financially – Devising a realistic and extensive estimate is fine. However, you need to leave some room in terms of financial projections. You can’t possibly get a totally accurate estimate, so don’t fret too much over absolute financial punctuality. Just set the course and be prepared to tweak the details further while working on your project.
Making estimates is an art, but it can be tricky. On one hand, you have to come up with a good “project management skeleton” (hence the extensive); on the other, you have to give yourself some room as not to go crazy from the calculations (hence the financially liberal approach part).
An additional thing to consider is the frequency of the budget you’ll be coming up in your estimate. Traditionally, we’re talking about monthly budgets in most of the project management industry. However, some quicker projects will follow a weekly budgeting schedule. Customize the pace in line with your project specifics, but do document and analyze why you chose this exact expenditure.
Keeping The Project Intact: Forecasts, forecasts, forecasts
A project is not a stone that you just throw to the bottom of the well and wish for success. You need to control its trajectory and monitor every step closely. Project budgeting is an ever-changing deal: you start the project with these and these resources and expectations, and soon enough the situation gets a little bit different. “OK, what now?”, you ask puzzled, and that’s the beginning of the end.
This is why forecasts are an absolute must and you should do them regularly. As various project components deviate, you need to accommodate this change to your current plans. Are your running costs higher than the initial estimate? Are they lower? Are there any problems with the team working on the project – sick leave, miscommunication? Any unwanted complications or technical difficulties?
Of course there are. There’s no project without its moments of alarm and panic. Forecasts reduce the probability of your project budgeting getting out of hand completely. Frequently performing them means that even if you deviate a bit from your initial plans, you can still mend it and get back on track. Way better than realizing your mistakes when the deadline’s knocking at your door, right?
Oiling The Project Wheels: Team Communication Matters
A project’s success vastly relies on the team that works on it. Improving that team’s way of working and establishing an efficient environment is a great predisposition for your project’s success.
Keep your team in touch with how things are faring in terms of project budgeting. Be transparent with them. Talk about what has happened during your chosen timeframe and discuss the forecasts – and how should they be tweaked.
Both you and your team are the masterminds of this project so you can’t leave them out in the dark. According to experts, this will also reduce the risk of them charging too much “gray area” hours when your project budgeting is a little sour. Not to mention that constant feedback is invaluable when it comes to devising estimates, following forecasts and overall better project budgeting practices. Ingrain in your head the mentality that your team is the basis of everything operational – including your own vacation scheduling if you remember our previous article.
Bonus: Improving Your Project Budgeting By Collaboration Tools
There’s a reason why project management is an industry filled with useful collaboration tools: they help. A lot. When we lay the initial drafts of what Cronforce would be about, we mused over how can we be of ultimate value to both project managers, teams, and their clients.
What do you expect of project cost management software?
We spoke with business owners like you and asked them the very same question. So we came up with a project management solution that lets you:
- Set your project budgeting and team rates intuitively
- Get a visual representation of your planned or actual project budgets (graphs)
- Establish rate rules per client, project, team member, job role
- Have an extensive project costs overview and bill monitoring
- Achieve 3rd party integrations with accounting services like Paychex, Quickbooks and others
Among many other things. There’s a reason why we talked in-depth with these business owners and why a great deal of them are now our clients.
What do you say about trying out Cronforce for free and taking that tricky project budgeting to a higher level with an increased efficiency?
The Cronforce.com Team