The Project Management Skills That Help You Stay On Budget
15th November 2017
Staying on budget is the backbone of a PM’s responsibility. Learn which project management skills you need to develop to consistently hit your target budget.
An astounding 85% of projects go over their original budgets.
A slight budget miscalculation may not impact a larger, more established company. But going wildly over budget can wreak havoc on businesses of any size.
It could even mean filing for bankruptcy or going out of business.
Do you have what it takes to ensure that your next project doesn’t just succeed, but outperforms the expectations of your company and employer?
Read on to find out the project management skills you need to have to make it happen.
Assign Roles According To Skill Set
An office is made up of people with a variety of strengths — and weaknesses.
One of the first steps you should take when planning your next project is to assign roles that play to the abilities of your employees.
If you’re unsure of which employees would be suited to specific tasks, it may help you to send around a survey or simply ask them yourself.
Polling employees may also help you to uncover valuable skills you weren’t aware they even had.
This can certainly save you cash.
Plus, keeping employee morale high is crucial to keeping the pace of your project on track.
When employees not only have a say in what they can work on, but also are assigned work they’ll enjoy, you’re much more likely to stay on schedule and avoid conflicts in the office environment.
Set Multiple Small Deadlines
We understand just how difficult it can be to stick to a schedule. Unexpected illnesses, life events, or simply problems with suppliers can derail your project quickly.
When you have just one enormous, looming deadline, it’s also much more difficult to know which steps of the project should be completed by when. Often, this means that employees end up following their own separate and self-created schedules.
As a result, your employees won’t be on the same page. They will lose time and energy waiting for others to catch up to them or in having to adjust work they’ve completed.
This isn’t efficient – and it can eat up your budget.
Instead, you need to create several specific, step-by-step deadlines that will help to keep your team on track. For example, any outside vendors, designers, or consultants need to be decided upon and contacted in one week.
Keep it methodical and manageable, and your employees won’t feel intimidated or directionless.
Instead, they’ll know exactly what they need to get done, and how much money they have to do it.
Be Prepared To Adapt
Chances are, you weren’t chosen to be a project manager because of your leadership skills alone.
While keeping employees motivated and on schedule is certainly an important part of your role, your biggest challenge will be adapting to unforeseen circumstances.
If you can’t adapt, your budget will seriously suffer as a result. This adaptability doesn’t just apply to sudden changes that happen over the course of the project.
It also means looking out for and implementing new technology, regulations, and more that could help you to complete your project more efficiently and ensure that it’s done correctly the first time.
Make Sure You Have The Right Tools
Of course, no project manager can rely on good advice alone. You also need the right tools, in combination with stellar project management skills, in order to get the job done.
A project financial tracking tool is an essential part of the work you do.
Look for tools that come with a wide range of features, like data import, graph creation, budget monitoring, and more. Also, find a tool that lets you create and compare several possible budgeting options for your project, so you can be sure you choose the best one.
These tools help you to estimate your expected costs and profitability. It also allows you to prepare for adjustments in your budget based on “what if” scenarios before they happen.
When you have multiple people working on a single project, it’s easy for your employees to feel like they have to fight for their voice to be heard.
Plus, when things get lost in translation, or changes to the schedule or project map aren’t communicated to all the members of your team at the same time, you’re in serious trouble.
If a coworker somehow didn’t get the message regarding a huge shift in focus, they’ll continue to work on a piece of the project that is either irrelevant or has been eliminated.
This can quickly damage your budget – and frustrate your employees.
Focus on finding and creating a single platform to streamline all communication regarding the project. Ask team members to confirm that they’ve read emails and memos, so you know everyone is on the same page.
At the end of each week, you should send an email updating everyone on the status of the project. Let your team members know what has been accomplished, highlight their excellent work, and remind them what’s on tap for the next week.
These “recap” emails ensure that everyone is working at the same pace, and help to promote a sense of accountability in the office.
Strengthen Your Project Management Skills With These Tips
Thanks to the advice in this post, you now have several solutions that will help you to stay on budget and keep your project on schedule.
Still, you’ll likely need additional help to keep things running smoothly over the course of the project.
Looking for a project budget tracking tool that’s trusted by PayPal, Cognizant, and more of the top companies?
We’re here to help.
Price&Cost provides you with the tools you need to succeed. Spend some time on our website to learn more about the unique features our tools offer. Be sure to sign up with us for a complimentary 2-week trial.
If you’re looking to come in under-budget and ahead of schedule, we ensure you have the project management skills and tools make it happen.
Filed under Project management