.net barcode reader component How Cost Management Ties into Time Management in Software

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How Cost Management Ties into Time Management
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Assuming at this point your project is part of the business strategy and has been recognized as essential (and is therefore funded), let s look at how cost management ties into the work you just completed in the previous chapter on time management We left off in 6 on the topic of controlling the schedule, which is the last process in time management The good news is, all the time and work you and the team invested in estimating the resources and duration of each activity (or work package) will be a key input in converting these items into costs Cost estimating is a simple process in most cases You take the activity duration (usually in number of days) and further decompose this into estimated hours of work effort by activity Once you assign the activities to different people you can use this simple formula P*Q where the quantity (Q) of hours is multiplied by the price (P) or hourly rate of the different people working on the project to determine cost of labor
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7: Project Cost Management
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Notice that I started with labor in the cost estimating process because it represents the highest source of cost to your project There are exceptions (equipment and materials can be high-dollar costs), but almost always the cost of labor is the top of the list (usually around 80 percent of the overall cost to the average project) The rest of the cost estimating can be pretty easy because the cost of material, equipment, leases, supplies, and such are what they are You can shop around and negotiate for the best prices for these things (even labor rates in some cases), but the amount quoted is usually straightforward Clearly, other factors need to be considered in cost estimating and management, and these other factors can come at you in many ways For example; changes in project scope as well as unexpected events and delays (such as bad weather on a construction project) may drive up overtime or cause a turnover in personnel (which in turn drives training costs up) Also, natural disasters such as hurricanes can drive up the cost of building materials and supplies If any of these cases mentioned occur, the original cost estimate goes out the window This is why you also need to plan for risk (see 11 for more details on risk management) Many dynamics must be considered when planning, estimating, and managing the costs for your project
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Project cost management includes the processes needed to estimate, budget, and control costs so that the project can be completed within the approved budget Cost management is primarily concerned with developing a plan and sticking to it by tracking actual spending and the impact to the budget Three primary processes are associated with cost management:
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71: Estimate costs (Planning process group) The process of developing an estimation of the monetary resources needed to complete project activities 72: Determine budget (Planning process group) Aggregating the estimated costs of each activity or work package to establish an approved cost baseline 73: Control costs (Monitoring and Controlling process group) Monitoring project status to update the budget and manage changes to the cost baseline
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In the real world of project management (and especially on smaller projects), cost estimating and cost budgeting are tightly linked and may be viewed as, or even combined into, a single process
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As you may have noticed, two of the three cost management processes are Planning processes, with the last one falling into the Monitoring and Controlling process group Clearly, the focus is on planning the cost, how to track and manage it, and the tools and methods available to ensure the project is on track to come in at or under the approved budget In order to create an accurate cost estimate, you need to consider the inputs (which are often outputs from previous processes) These include the project scope statement, WBS, project constraints, the schedule, company policies, existing systems, standard tools or procedures, and lessons learned from previous or similar projects Historical information is always a great place to start You also need an approved, documented plan A cost management plan cannot be complete without measurements and rules of engagement, such as procurement; preferred vendors (suppliers or sellers as well as purchase order processing procedures); and tracking tools, techniques, and methods The cost management plan should be part of the overall project plan and needs to have a clear set of estimates, measurements to be tracked, and reporting status to show that you
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Are in control of the project cost and budget Can demonstrate your overall capability through accurate forecasting to bring in the project at or below the approved budget
As a project manager, you may have the authority to negotiate for resources (people, equipment, and materials) However, many of us work in a centralized procurement organization, meaning we have to engage and work closely with purchasing and accounts payable departments These departments may have strict rules that you need to be aware of prior to spending (or committing) money to obtain goods and services As part of the planning process, you and the team should, as early as possible in the project life cycle, determine which processes or tools you will use to manage cost on your project Once you decide how you are managing the project costs and how you are going to track and report progress, you need to include these components in your project cost management plan The cost management plan should address the following areas:
Type of estimate used (More detail on specific types will be shown later in the chapter) Level of accuracy needed for estimates (for example, 10 percent within budget or within delivery schedule) Units of measure (hours, currency, cost per square foot, number of widgets produced in an hour, cost per widget, hours per day worked, cost per hour of labor, and so on) Type of tracking (for example, plan versus actual, milestones, trends, and earned value)
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