Let's Get Fiscal!

Jim Harris

The project manager's skills are key factors in the success of a project. One skill is the ability to be an effective business manager. Not only are project managers concerned with the delivery of the product or service, they must also be equally concerned about meeting the fiscal objectives established at the beginning of the project. Cost management is probably the most critical project function of a project from start to finish. This process includes identifying required resources, costing the needed resources and controlling expenditure of budgeted costs.

In many organizations, a project budget is established by external elements to the PM function, taking into consideration revenue, cash flow and margin or return on investment (ROI) for an internal project. The primary role of the project manager is to execute and control the accepted cost proposal and to report expenditures and funding shortfalls. The project manager's skill as a fiscal manager can mean the success or failure of a project. There is no single item that can bring praise or disfavor to a project manager faster than a project's fiscal state. In my article, Keep a Lid on It, I address cost containment from a high level. This article takes a closer view at the critical factor of controlling project costs.

The project components of time, resources, product quality and project scope make up the dollars and …

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