We all want to celebrate a project that has been successful and delivered the desired results for the business. Unfortunately, many projects do not start on the right foundation, which is predominantly around the expectation of what the project budget will include in terms of outcomes and resourcing.
Managing Your Project Budget
The ability to effectively manage the project budget usually comes down to 2 key things:
Scope and Expectation
The conversations around changes in Scope often begin very soon after a project has started. The ink on the legal paperwork is sometimes barely dry before you realise that some major areas have been missed in your organisation’s requirements documents.
Your vendor or supplier will typically be focused on minimally scoping the number of their resources involved in implementing the solution to keep their costs low enough to win the bid. In reality, your vendor will be relying on your team to do the majority of the work whilst you will be expecting that the vendor will carry the heaviest part of the workload.
The scope therefore becomes extended and variations surface, which then affects the resources, the timelines and the budget. Both sides truly believe that the other side will do the “right thing” and this situation often creates a shaky start to the project.
Questions to Ask Before you Start
Before you start a project be sure to ask the following questions. If you or your team cannot answer all of these to the affirmative, then you should not start your project. More planning or assessment will be required.
- EXECUTIVE ENGAGEMENT – Have all of your Senior Managers agreed to proactively support the project? Do they have a commitment and belief in the project outcomes?
- TRUST – Do you trust your Vendor to be transparent, accountable and to look after your interests? Have you verified this critical point through strong due diligence?
- PROCESS – Are all the areas of your business such as your branch offices aligned with their expectations and committed to one way of doing things?
- EXPERIENCE – Has your Vendor delivered similar projects for similar organisations successfully in the past? Do they still have the resources available that created success elsewhere?
- METHOD – Does your Vendor have a structured and pragmatic project management methodology to follow? Have they walked through this with you so that you completely understand and agree that the approach will be effective for your business?
- PEOPLE – Do you have enough people to back fill the critical roles in your company, whilst key staff are committed to the project for extended periods? Expecting key staff to manage their day to day job as well as the load imposed by these projects can lead to sub optimal outcomes and staff burn out.
- RISK – Do you have independent Governance and QA processes in place? Is there an active risk assessment process in place and effective mitigation processes defined? Can your auditors offer any support?
Project Management Support and Mentoring
Project Management Support and Mentoring will often alleviate the above concerns and provide you with the additional support required to deliver the project on time and budget. Consider engaging the services of an independent consulting company that specialises in Project Management in circumstances when:
- Your project is particularly complex and challenging.
- You do not have suitably experienced, qualified and skilled resources in house.
- Your project needs to be delivered on time but everyone is too busy with their day-to-day jobs.
- You know you need specific expertise and “know how”, particularly in relation to business processes.
- You need mentoring and support to take your staff on the journey of change.