Budgets & costs are one of the biggest challenges faced by project managers, regardless of the size and scale of the project in hand. Budgets are set for a reason, thus scaling costs and keeping track of priority areas is key; nobody wants to report that money has been spent on unnecessary areas, especially if to the detriment of others.
This is where the use of CAFM enabled project management software comes into its own. This type of software exists to seamlessly integrate with existing project processes and adapt to current methodology, which in turn allows it to then scale to the size and nature of individual projects being managed. As such, project management becomes more cohesive and efficient as individual areas are streamlined together, with all key elements controlled under one umbrella – this includes resource management, tracking fees, orders, invoicing and portfolio management.
A structured workflow is essential to help users through each step of a project, and without this team members can easily be diverted into other areas, perhaps without completing the previous tasks required. This can in turn raise costs as an extra resource is required to then finish outstanding works and report back; overall, this can also raise reporting time and associated cost as some areas may need covering multiple times to ensure the work is done.
Using software to manage workflow reduces this problem, as team members will be able to see step by step instructions on what they need to complete individual steps, processes can be outlined, and reporting will be simplified and reduced. Task management is also key, so users can tick off when they have completed individual steps, with a log of the time taken.
Taking advantage of reporting is essential, as resource cost can also be reduced. It will be more easily apparent how many team members per area are required, with budget then freed up to either put into other areas or as a surplus for anything unforeseen.
Touching more on the team aspect, collaboration between different team members and project areas is essential to successful completion, so streamlining this under one place ensures that everyone has access to the data and reports they require for collaborative working. Whether this is in planning, design or implementation stage, collaborative features allow everyone involved to ‘be on the same page’, which in turn reduces operation cost as less time is spent needlessly emailing reports or planning data when it could all be accessed in one shared location.
If no system is in place for an overall budget to be set and then divided and tracked, it is very easy to lose control of where money goes, especially in larger projects with multiple areas and team members. Reporting costs are also higher as no one system is keeping track of expenditure and resource cost.
Ideally, any software used for budget management should give detailed financial information which can then be analysed and reported on in a number of ways, right down to individual users, with access for them to upload timesheets and expenses. Time reporting is a key feature, as this adds to overall costs. External finance systems used elsewhere in the company should also ideally be integrated, to bring everything together in one place.
Not only is individual project data key, but overall business performance should be analysed to give a full overview of all projects and programmes. This is very difficult if no one system is in place to monitor ongoing projects across the board, leading to increased analyst and forecasting costs as multiple team members submit their data to different line managers and areas. Introducing a streamlined software system that brings this all together allows for cohesive data collection, reporting and analysis.