How to Keep Your Projects On-Time and On-Budget

Deltek is the latest member of the Arras People Software Directory, in this article they give a brief overview of how projects can be controlled and how software can help with this.

From internal initiatives to major customer endeavors, there’s a universal truth: all projects are susceptible to cost overruns and schedule slippage. And now more than ever, projects that are over budget, behind schedule or are not delivering the value originally promised are in jeopardy of being cancelled.

The simple truth is that organisations can avoid these issues by implementing and enhancing their project controls with industry best practices for project management. But what are the right project controls and is there a single method to the implementation madness? Before we give you a simple yes or no answer, let’s start from the beginning…

What Are Project Controls?

To put it simply, project controls encompass the people, processes and tools used to plan, manage and mitigate cost and schedule issues and any risk events that may impact a project. The most successful projects have well-developed controls in place from start to finish.

Such controls are not only crucial to the efficiency and performance of specific projects, but to an organisation’s overall operations. Well-developed controls, monitored through each step of the process, also ensure that timing and budget demands are met and that every participant knows their role in context of the project.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees project controls as beneficial. Many think they involve a structured process that represents unwelcome change and creates additional burden and unnecessary project costs. But failed and challenged projects alone cost U.S. companies and government agencies an estimated $145 billion per year! Not to mention, one failed project can erode a year’s worth of an organisation’s profits, as well as impact their ability to secure future work.

 

Smarter Tools, Smarter Decisions

The key deliverable of a project control process is visibility into project performance through metrics and analysis. The foundation of this visibility is an integrated project control software solution. This includes an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) and performance management.

The IMS, monetised by a dedicated cost and performance management application, maps the schedule tasks to the scope of work and the budget. This comprehensive output assures that the correct scope is being performed, risk mitigation is in place, no steps have been missed and every dollar is tracked.

With the cost baseline established, project performance updates are driven from within the scheduling system and then transmitted to the cost management system. At this point, the time-phased expenditure forecast may differ from the baseline. The cost management system maintains both the baseline and forecast values. Actual costs expended on the project enter the cost management system from the company accounting system. And once the cost, schedule and technical baselines are established and the performance update process is underway, metrics and indices can then be used to assess the overall health of the project. Trained staff can then use this information as a decision-making tool to develop corrective actions and implement and monitor changes.

This leads us back to our original question… what are the right project controls and is there a single method to the implementation madness? The truth is there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” answer.  There are many tools available on the market – and each one comes with their respective benefits and drawbacks.

 


DeltekDeltek offers an integrated suite of solutions for project controls that reduce risk and improve profitability. Our Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) suite easily integrates cost, schedule and resource information to empower your team with reliable project status reports and earned value reports they can trust.

But don’t just take our word for it! Check out companies similar to yours who have benefited from implementing the Deltek PPM suite:

 

Photo credit: Luigi Mengato via Visualhunt / CC BY

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