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What to Do when Your Project Goes Over Budget

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Most projects are already finished before it’s discovered that they’ve gone over budget. What can you do to prevent this? In this episode, Curt reveals his simple methodology for ensuring projects stay on track.

What happens with a project that has gone over budget, and when do you typically find out about it?

For most people, overruns are discovered when the project should be done already.

But with simple adherence to a basic time tracking process, you can find out things are broken far earlier.  Here’s how:

First, break the project into large sequential phases and have our people track time to each phase.

Included with each phase should be an estimate of how long it will take to finish the work for that phase, in total hours and in calendar time.  Phase might be for example, requirements, design, coding, debugging, testing, documentation, shipping, (if this is a software project)

If the early parts of the project go over their allotment of time, you’re very unlikely to catch back up later.  Everyone thinks they will be nobody ever does.  The good news is that you’ll know this early and you can change the date, the scope, the people assigned or take some other action to try to catch up.

Additionally because you’re capturing this time data you’re going to be able to produce wildly more accurate estimates in the future… but that’s another video.

By tracking the completion of specific milestones, and by tracking the time and manpower required to achieve those milestones, you are well on your way to knowing whether this project has any chance at all of catchup and on-time delivery.

Another thing you’ll be able to see is if resources are really working on your project.  Supposed sally is assigned to work 100 hours on you project, but you can see form their timesheet that she’s only worked 20, and her task is in the critical path for project completion and It’s due to be finished in 3 days.

She’ll probably never make it.  Isn’t it nice that you know this early on?  Other manager will frequently steal your resources.  This is a common complaint of project managers worldwide.

Next time, get a signed contract in advance with her manager if possible.