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This chapter is from the book

Solutions to Schedule and Cost Control

Projects ultimately are the utilization of organizational resources identified for specific tasks that have been organized in a sequence of work activities that will accomplish the project objective. Although most organizations have management staff who are very good at utilizing resources for specific tasks within the operation, the trick in project management is not only to specifically identify all required resources, correctly sequence work activities, and accurately estimate costs of all specific work activity requirements, but also to design and initiate schedule, cost, and quality controls. As functional managers can probably accomplish some of these project-related tasks, their responsibility is not in directing daily work activities of the department. As we have seen, if a project is unique to a particular department, functional managers can actually be the best people to carry out that specific project as the scope management will be isolated to their department. If projects require resources from multiple departments or projects occupy a primary structure within the organization, project managers typically have the knowledge and experience to accurately develop and implement projects.

If project managers want to ensure that a project is developed properly, they must be knowledgeable of tools and techniques that will assist in correctly and accurately gathering and evaluating project information to develop a comprehensive project management plan. The success of projects is typically the result of having well-documented project work activity requirements, accurate scheduling of resources and work activities, and accurate cost estimation of all specific activity requirements to develop the project budget. One of the primary success factors in project management is the attention to detail in work activity requirements and scheduling.

The goal of successfully developing and controlling a project would be understanding how to get the most detail of work activities to accurately assess cost and resource requirements and what types of controls can be implemented to ensure work activities stay on schedule and within budget. In most cases, the more accurate the project manager and project staff are in estimating schedule duration and cost for work activities, the better chance the project will have staying on schedule and within budget. Because there typically is a margin of error in schedule and cost estimating and the reality of the impact of organizational processes and risk or uncertainty, the project manager also needs to utilize some control to adjust for these abnormalities in the project life cycle.

The success of the project ultimately depends on how well the project manager is armed with tools and techniques for project development. This book is a comprehensive compilation of common project management tools and techniques used in project development, specifically with regard to scheduling, cost estimating, and project control. These tools are simple and can be used easily in the development, implementation, and control of a project. It should be the goal of all those tasked with the development and oversight of a project to be armed with tools that will assist in projects being documented and controlled effectively and accurately to ensure project objectives are completed on schedule and on budget.

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