Project Management

5 Tips for Keeping Your Project Under Budget

Project managers are often tasked with keeping to a budget that they had no hand in creating, and although the world of IT may not always be fair, there are ways to balance the odds back in your favor. Keith Mathis writes for the PM Hut five tips for keeping the project under budget:

  1. Revise the budget.
  2. Create a financial plan.
  3. Baseline the plan.
  4. Track progress frequently.
  5. Get serious.

The boldest and most efficient way to right a wrong budget is to revise it, on which Mathis has plenty to say: 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? Size? Complexity? Risk? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, immediately go to your supervisor and raise your concerns. However, don’t go in without doing your research. Explain in detail why you don’t feel the current budget is sufficient and give your own numbers. You’ll be more likely to influence a change if you are able to back up your proposed budget with documentation from similar past projects. While you might not get the budget changed, you’ll at least have brought up your concerns at the beginning. When the budget is finalized and unyielding, a financial plan should be created to determine what each aspect of the project is going to cost and to adjust plans if necessary to stay within the budget. Then that plan should be baselined so that actual expenses can be compared to the originally estimated expenses at any given time. Monitoring progress in terms of total cost at regular intervals is necessary in order to spot any potentially insidious cost inflations. When it is found that the budget is being blown for an extended period, the project manager must get serious and take immediate action either to cut costs or to have the budget expanded. Even though project managers must play by rules set by other people, it is still their job to get work done right. Use these tips to fight back when it seems like everybody but you gets a say in how the budget is built.

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