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Project Management Template Tool Kit Budget

February 18 2010

What Your Team Doesn’t Know About the Project Budget Can Hurt You

On time and on budget project delivery is the goal of every project manager.  In fact, probably just about everything the experienced project manager does on their projects is geared toward that end goal.  And budget management is a crucial part of any company’s overall project management template tool kit.

Let’s look at reality.  Some companies have us fill out our timesheets by late Friday afternoon or worse yet. Monday morning for the entire week.  We’re supposed to keep track daily of the work we do and allocate our hours accordingly, but few of us do that.  Now, consider as project managers we’re managing maybe 5-6 projects at a time as part of our company’s project management portfolio.  And our resources on our teams are probably working on 3-4 different projects for 3-4 different project managers and may have some non-project work they’re doing for their direct manager, too.

As the week closes down and these very busy resources of ours on our projects are tallying up where they spent their time, do you think they will be able to have an accurate accounting of 100% of that time expended?  Doubtful.  They’ll be able to accurately document probably 30 or so hours and they rest will be guesswork.

Now consider this, if you are tracking your projects budget and hours very carefully and your team knows that and they are getting budget reports on the project every week, do you think they’ll toss ‘extra’ hours on your project?  No.  When they’re trying to figure out where to put that last 5-10 hours for the week – they’ll put those ‘grey’ hours on a project that no one is watching carefully.  It’s not dishonest, its just guesswork and they’re just trying to finish off a mindless timekeeping task that they don’t consider to be important.  So the project manager MUST consider it to be important.

Summary

Budget management is critical to successful Online Project Management.  Always keep your team members mindful of what work is expected of them weekly and how much time you think it’s going to take.  Forecast their work and go over it with them and adjust accordingly.  If they know you’re tracking it well then you won’t be the project manager who’s projects get the ‘grey’ hours charged to it.  And an extra 2-3 hours every week adds up fast – and can easily be the difference between finishing on budget or going well over budget.