Time and cost management are fundamental requirement for any viable project. This paper dissects the significance of adopting a sound time and cost management blueprint in project execution. The subsequent section captures different techniques in time and cost management in a project. The final part succinctly envisages activities that demand monitoring and controlling in a project.
Project time planning involve allocating time to different phase of the project to ensure thee is timely and appropriate completion of the project. Rushing into project execution without deliberate preparation and planning may result to delays or involvement of extra cost in executing the project (Antvik & Sjoholm 2016). Having a sound time planning enables the organisation to realize the magnitude of the work involved in the project and what time would be sufficient to execute the plan. Time planning also helps the project management team to estimate the work period necessary to accomplish a given task based on the available information concerning the work effort and the resources available to complete a given task. Furthermore, time planning gives room for revising, reviewing of resource estimates and task duration estimates in order to optimize the trade-off between resources, cost, and time.
Project cost planning on the other hand entails the process of cost budgeting and cost estimating. According to Kezner,cost management plan is significant in tracking total cost for different activities undertaken in the project (2015). It is also vital in ensuring that the project management team draft an efficient and a realistic budget that guarantees a reasonable cash flow (Antvik & Sjoholm 2007). In addition, cost management planning enables the project management team to identify the sources of funds and the cost involved in implementing the project. It also guide the team manager whether or not to proceed with the project after weighing social costs and benefits (Kezner, 2015).
The first approach is Critical Path Method (CPM). This method is a deterministic approach that employs the use of network dependencies between underlying tasks and task duration to compute the longest network path known as ‘critical path’ (Schwalbe 2015). The duration for the ‘Critical path’ signifies the shortest period for project completion. The method calculates how each task can be accomplished in the shortest time possible by determining their early start and completion date (Schwalbe 2015). Once the dates have been determined, the completion date for the entire project can also be approximated. However, CPM approach does not consider the limitation of resources (Moder, Phillips & Davis 1995).
Another time management technique is Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). This method presumes that the project is acyclic meshwork of activities (Bredillet, 2005). Unlike CPM, PERT integrates uncertainties in limited sense by adopting probability distribution for every task. It also assumes approximation of three distinct estimates namely: optimistic, most likely and pessimistic (Bredillet 2005). Calculations are done using variations, expected values and some probability principles. Expected time-span for the entire project is determined by summing up expected time of every task on critical paths.The total time for the entire project will follow statistical distribution (Rolstadaas 2008). Ultimately, the time-span for the whole project will have the variations and the expected values, which determines the probability of accomplishing the project in a given duration.Rolstadaascontends that PERT results are more realistic than CPM (2008). The method also addresses uncertainty issues. Since PERT approach employs expected values and standard deviation of the distribution in determining chances of realizing the scheduled dates of a project, there could be biasness (Rolstadaas 2008). This is because the optimistic and pessimistic values depend on the judgement of a person rather than sampling technique.
The third technique for time management is Project Management Software (PMS). PMS method is inclined on network techniques with formulations that are underpinned on project history (Pinto 2016). Pinto observes that activity-on-node (AON) format is the most used PMS especially in ProTrack and Primavera projects. PMS employs the use of software tools that automatically models a project network and obtains a critical path after entering every necessary inputs. PMS are significant in enabling the organisation to manage simultaneous projects in different geographical locations. Muredithand Mantel, argue that PMS delivers a comprehensive information in tabular and graphic representations that enables easy access to critical data. They are convenient and save time in developing a schedule for project (2000).
Cost management techniques
There are different tools that can be used in cost managing a project. The first approach is Analogues estimating. This involves using the exact cost of previous project -similar to the current one- in estimating the cost of the current project (Rolstadaas 2008). This method is frequently applied in estimating project costs that do not have sufficient information about the whole cycle. The method is generally less costly compared to other techniques (Rolstadaas 2008). It is also reliable when undertaking similar projects and, when, the team preparing the budget have the relevant expertise. However, it is less accurate (Kerzner 2015).
Another cost management technique is parametric modelling. The method entails using project parameters in mathematical concept to estimate the project cost. While the concepts may be simple, accuracy of the parametric concept and cost may vary significantly (Bredillet 2005, p. 85). However, the method is reliable when the historical background employed to develop the concept was accurate. In addition, it is convenient when parameters adopted in the concept are promptly quantifiable and scalable cost (Kerzner 2015).
Performance report is another tool in cost management. It provides detailed information with regard to cost performance, for instance revealing the budget that has been fulfilled and the one that is still pending (Kerzner 2015). Besides, performance reports provide signals to the project team concerning the issues that could adversely affect the performance of the project in future. According to Kerzner, the method also enables the project team to identify areas that may need more resources (2015).
Monitoring project is where the project team intervenes and adopt a corrective measure when observed process or operation is not going on as planned. Controlling entails detecting, rectifying errors and precluding future reoccurrence. For example, when undertaking Poultry project, different areas activities may require monitoring and control. First, it may be imperative to monitor the risks thatmay undermine the profitability of the project like parasites and diseases, for instance birds’ flu. Once the risk has been identified, an appropriate action- like administering vaccines to the poultry- could be done to prevent losses in future.
Besides, poultry project performance can be tracked and significant deviation as noted by Meredith & Mantel (2000). Commitment of those implementing the projectcan also be reviewedto ensure the project is flowing smoothly. Another area that may demand monitoring and controlling is milestone reviewing (Meredith & Mantel 2000). This involves reviewing the technicalities of the project in terms of market performance and consumer behaviour. Finally, general progress of the project with regard to the time-span can be monitored and appropriate control measures adopted in case of time lag or budget deficit.
List of References
Antvik, S., & Sjo?holm, H. 2016. Project management and methods.Bromma: Management and Aviation Sven Antvik.
Bredillet, P. 2005. International Journal of Project Management.International Journal of Project Management, 23(1), 86. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2004.03.003
Kerzner, H. 2015. Project management 2.0: Leveraging tools, distributed collaboration, and metrics for project success. (Project Management 2.0.)Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Meredith, J. R., Mantel, S. J., & Meredith, J. R. 2000. Instructor's resource guide to accompany Project management: A managerial approach.New York: J. Wiley.
Moder, J. J., Phillips, C. R., & Davis, E. W. 1995. Project management with CPM, PERT, and precedence diagramming.Middleton, Wis: Blitz Pub.Co.
Pinto, J. K. 2016. Project management: Achieving competitive advantage.
Rolstadaas, A. 2008. Applied project management: How to organize, plan and control projects. Trondheim: Tapir Academic Press.