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Managing Contingency

by Rob Seiler Jerry B. Insall

Contingency covers costs that are reasonably expected to occur but are not specifically known on a given project. Keeping estimates of contingency up-to-date and relevant to the current environment and phase of the project in real time can be a challenge. Through the use of a project information database, application of a PMO reserve, and the use of iterative risk planning, the authors offer a solution to this problem.

Combining Soft Skills and Hard Tools for Better Software Estimates

by Carol Dekkers

One measure of project success hinges on the ability of the estimator to predict the right schedule and budget, since projects that go over budget or fall behind are deemed failures. This article looks at the factors behind the difficulty of getting good estimates and suggests a combination of psychology (soft skills) and science (robust estimation software) to increase project success rates.

Six Questions on the Path to Financially Justified Projects: Developing Cash Flow Models

by Bill Kay

Projects are financial and strategic investments that exist to deliver value. Cash flow modeling is an essential step to produce return on investment (ROI) financial measurements that support the project selection process. The author poses six key questions project managers should ask at the onset of the process to produce an accurate financial representation of the project and enable value creation.

Earned Value Management (EVM) Calculator

PREMIUM deliverable

The basic premise of EVM is that we can assign a value to each task. We can then determine the progress that we have made on our project relative to schedule by comparing the amount of work completed with the amount of work planned to have been completed at the reporting date, and the progress relative to budget by comparing the amount of money that we have actually spent with the amount of money that we planned to spend.

The Money Files

by Elizabeth Harrin

A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts.

The Use of Task Rates in Monitoring and Evaluating Projects

by Francisco J. Toro

The author presents an approach for using a rate to monitor projects, based on the re-evaluation of two key concepts, work total, and the rate per unit of work. By periodically recalculating and updating rate values, considering the comparison of the actual work vs. the planned work, the project manager may develop reliable databases for use in future evaluations and follow-up projects.

Cost Estimating Worksheet

PREMIUM deliverable

A cost-estimating worksheet can help you develop cost estimates when quantitative methods or bottom-up estimates are developed. Quantitative methods include parametric estimates, analogous estimates and three-point estimates.

Bottom-Up Cost Estimating Worksheet

PREMIUM deliverable

Bottom-up estimates are detailed estimates done at the work package level. Detailed information on the work package and other direct/indirect costs are used to determine the most accurate estimate possible. Use this worksheet to help you keep track.

Cost Management Plan

PREMIUM deliverable

The cost management plan is a component of the project or program management plan that describes how costs will be planned, structured and controlled. It includes a description of how costs will be estimated and budgeted, and helps define the methods used.

Project Charter

PREMIUM deliverable

The Project Charter formally authorizes a project or phase. It defines the reason for the project and assigns a project manager--and the PM's authority level. The content of the Charter should describe the project in high-level terms.

How to Keep a Project Under Budget

by Mike Tressler, MBA, PMP

Using a step-by-step approach to budgeting will make your life easier in the long run, allow you to accurately answer any questions about project expenditures, make much more accurate future cost estimates for similar projects and generally give you more control over the project. Here's some help.

Can Agile Projects Self-Organize with a Fixed-Price Mentality?

by Sachin Dhaygude

The answer is “yes”, even though the typical fixed-price mentality violates the values stated in the Agile Manifesto. But fixed-price contracts are necessary for the market, so agile projects will have to adjust and offer a workaround.

Making Project Management Information Systems Agile

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

When one PM was asked to list the key requirements for a PMIS that would enable it to better support project and organizational effectiveness, he thought about past project, portfolio and program management experiences. The result? A “dream list” of features for a PMIS to support large, traditionally managed projects...a list that was surprisingly agile.

The Key to Optimum Outsourcing

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

Some studies have indicated that the real benefits of offshore outsourcing can be diminished by issues in communication, skill sets and accountability. But if managed properly, offshore IT projects can reap substantial rewards.

The Vendor-Client Conundrum

by Laura Burford

What each vendor and client might think is black and white about their project can actually be gray. Just recognizing and accepting this is a conundrum--and resolving it requires aligning perspectives for the good of the project. Do you have the flexibility to change, collaborate and communicate?

Hiring a Consultant: What to Do, What Not to Do...and Why

by Mark Mullaly, PMP

Is "consultant" a dirty word? Many consultants get a bad name from the fact that they become indistinguishable from the organizational employees that they work alongside. How do you know that hiring a consultant is a good idea?

The Pros and Cons of Consultants

by Michael Wood

What comes to mind when you ponder the possibility of engaging a consultant? Dread or excitement? The high cost or opportunity for growth? Most of us have heard good things and bad things about using consultants, most of which are true.

The Consulting Relationship: A Matter of Trust

by Andy Jordan

Many consulting engagements see frustrated consultants because they are not allowed to do what they feel is needed to maximize the chances of success. Here, we look at how these scenarios can be avoided--something that starts with trust.

The ABCs of Always Beneficial Consultants

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

Consultants can be a helpful resource on a project or they can take up valuable space. Here are some ideas for the best way to deal with consultants and make sure they are beneficial to the project.

Of Martial Arts and Methodology

by Patti Gilchrist, PMP

Choosing the best framework or methodology requires thought, but be careful not to overanalyze it. PMs can gain valuable insight from Bruce Lee’s philosophies, which offer a sound approach to achieve success in any area.

What Role Should the PMO Play in Project Finance?

by Andy Jordan

There is one aspect of project management where it's rare to find any consistency at all within PMOs: project financials. Let’s look at some of the different options and see if we can figure out some models that might work effectively.

Calculating Level of Effort: How Do We Approach It?

by Jiju (Jay) Nair, PMP

Why is LOE as important for a project as other aspects like stakeholder satisfaction, cost overshoot and schedule variance? And are you approaching it the right way?

The Path to the PMP (Part 7)

by Bruce Garrod

The best part about Project Cost Management is that there are only three processes. And while the first two processes are light dumbbell lifting, the third throws some heavy barbell exercises your way. Are you prepared?

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"I respect a man who knows how to spell a word more than one way."

- Mark Twain

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