Resources on Project Portfolio Management | Wrike Blog
Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.

PMO

Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.
The Ultimate Guide to Project Tracking
Project Management 7 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Project Tracking

Project tracking is a key duty of a project manager. Never be in the dark about a project again with our guide to project tracking software and best practices.

A Guide to Project Controls
Project Management 5 min read

A Guide to Project Controls

What are project controls and why are they a smart strategy for project managers? In this guide, you’ll discover the key benefits of the project control process.

What Is a Bottleneck in Project Management?
Project Management 5 min read

What Is a Bottleneck in Project Management?

What is a bottleneck in project management? Here’s how to perform a bottleneck analysis to identify project roadblocks before they spiral out of control.

Three Ways to Minimize Your Project Budget Exposure
Project Management 5 min read

Three Ways to Minimize Your Project Budget Exposure

Keeping the project budget in line is one of the most difficult things in project management – and yet it is a huge factor in determining the overall success of the project when the engagement winds down. The goal is to keep it in line throughout and avoid falling into emergency mode at any point with a huge budget overrun that you have to either fix or find yourself at the brink of project shutdown. Through my experience, I've found that the following three processes are extremely helpful to me as I try to keep my project budgets in check on the multiple projects I'm usually managing at any given point in time. Project managers are busy with many things beyond managing the budget on our plate. Developing good processes and habits will help you significantly reduce the likelihood that your project budget will turn into a catastrophe.  Let's review each of the three ways to minimize your project budget exposure more closely…. Review and revise the project budget at least weekly The first thing you can do to protect your project budget is probably the easiest thing you can do and it is definitely the least invasive thing you can do.  All it requires is you – and the proper information provided to you on a weekly basis. Get weekly information from Accounting concerning the charges to your project and revise your information diligently every week. This may seem simple…even mundane.  But it always amazes me how many project managers get lazy and let this slide for a week or two and then eventually longer.  "Hey, it wasn't a problem three weeks ago and nothing significant has happened on the project so why should my budget be in jeopardy now?" Well, it's amazing how the little things build up – and they can build up fast.  Stay on top of the budget – don't let a week go by without comparing forecast to actuals and re-forecasting, if necessary. It's much easier to fix a 10% budget overrun now before it gets out of control than it is to fix a 40% budget overrun a month from now after it is already out of control. And which one is management going to be more pleased about hearing?  Which one will the customer be more understanding of and flexible in working with you on? Make your project budget high profile This is also a fairly easy one and it has worked extremely well for me.  And if you're organization is a matrix organization with everyone working on multiple projects at once, even better.  Here's the scenario…. You are a project manager running five projects at once. Each of your technical team members are on – on average – three different projects at the same time.  And let's remember that – in all honesty – 80-90% of all employees calculate their project charges for the week at the last minute, usually on Friday. Very few accurately document their time during each workday or at the end of the day.  And we all remember most of what we did each week … but there's always that four or five hours that we really can't pinpoint exactly what we were doing.  We know we worked 50 hours this week, but can only accurately account for 45 of them.  They have to go somewhere.  Where do they go? They go to the project that they feel those hours will be least noticed in.  And that is usually the project that those personnel know is not being monitored closely. So don't let that be your project.  Make sure your team members know you're watching the project budget – and the hours that they charge to it – like a hawk. Discuss the budget with them at every weekly internal team meeting and give them a status update on how the project budget is standing up to the original forecast.  Share your concerns with them. Periodically question them on charges just to keep them on their toes. Don't be accusing, just ask them questions about the charges and the work that was being performed.  If they know you're that aware, it's highly unlikely that any of your projects will be recipients of the 'grey' hours at the end of each work week. Manage scope closely This is probably the hardest one to do and can have the most devastating affect on the project budget.  The problem here can be two fold. You have the issue of managing the project scope from your project manager perspective and negotiating changes and change orders with the customer.  But you also have the task of managing your project team members closely as they work with the customer. On at least a third of my projects I've run across potential scope issues through discussions I've had with my project team members who were in close communication with the customer. They tend to develop a relationship with the customer and then you have the ego trip issue of your developer 'knowing' they can do anything quickly and easily. The customer makes a small request, your developer thinks it will be no problem to incorporate this 'new' request quickly and you end up having a developer spend a few hours – which can mean a few thousand dollars - of your precious project budget on a customer request that is likely beyond the original scope of the project. None of this was malicious or even on purpose – they were just helping out the customer on a small request. Inform your team, warn them of these situations, and then ask them about their customer interactions and any requests that may be coming their way when you meet with them internally on a weekly basis. Call for feedback Let's hear from our readers.  What budget issues have you experienced?  Do you find it hard, at times, to rein your team in when trying to keep costs down.  What steps do you take to keep your project budget from getting out of hand?

A Guide to Project Prioritization
Project Management 5 min read

A Guide to Project Prioritization

Why is a project prioritization process so important to your teams’ success? Streamline your project management prioritization and increase efficiency with our guide.

3 Project Manager Headaches and How to Cure Them
Project Management 5 min read

3 Project Manager Headaches and How to Cure Them

Project management is a highly complex and complicated job. Because there are so many factors that come into play during every single project, project managers must be extremely versatile and skilled. Unlike developers, engineers, or architects that work on the technical side of projects, project managers, in addition to being familiar with all the technical details, also need to deal with the social and corporate aspects. On top of all that, they are often juggling several projects at once. In addition to all this, project managers need to ensure that lines of communication between different departments stay open so that teams coordinate with each other and any potential risks that can sideline the project don’t go unnoticed. Naturally, all this complexity is a fertile breeding ground for a myriad of problems. Here are three major headaches almost every project manager faces, along with some practical solutions. Headache #1: Project Schedule Updates It goes without saying that every project needs a schedule, so that everyone involved can keep track of their progress and responsibilities, including milestones. It is up to the project manager to monitor all the activities of the team, update the project status, and act as the link between the team and any stakeholders, including upper management. However, all of this is an incredibly time-consuming activity for project managers, when their skills and expertise could be put to better use by having them do actual work on the project, instead of administrative tasks. Solution: Automate schedule updates whenever possible, so that you don't have to waste time collecting them manually. Meeting with your team and asking each member for task status is time-consuming, especially when there are project management and collaboration tools available that allow your team to simply mark a task or milestone as finished and provide real-time status updates and reports. By saving time on administrative busywork, you can focus your efforts and expertise where it really matters. Headache #2: Multitasking With so much on your plate, multitasking may seem unavoidable. But it turns out that it actually impedes your productivity, negatively affects the quality of your work, and can create massive delays. A setback in one area will inevitably cause problems for any dependent tasks, which can't begin until the first task has finished, and so on. It quickly compounds and creates further delays. Solution: Do what you can to limit the number of projects that are in progress at the same time. Try to keep no more than 25 to 50% of your projects running simultaneously to result in fewer delays and a higher quality of work. As a project manager, you will have a much easier job with fewer projects demanding your time and attention at once. You should also take advantage of the many online tools that can help you shoulder some of the burden. An instant message app like Slack allows for real-time communication, message archiving, and easy search, in case you need to recall specific conversation details. Headache #3: Project Duration Estimates Unless you have a working crystal ball on hand, (in which case, can we borrow it?) you simply cannot know how much time it will take to complete a particular task. However, you will need provide an estimated project duration to stakeholders and clients, based on all the relevant information you have at your disposal. And you will be held accountable to that estimated completion date. There are several different methods you can use to estimate how much time it will take your team to complete a project. But even if you assign proposed durations for each task, you may come up short with your estimate—which means your team will have to pick up the slack and make up for lost time. And aside from the stress, that can mean sacrificing quality, going over budget, or potentially slipping deadlines. Solution: Instead of asking your team members to provide a single estimated deadline for their individual tasks, try a two-point estimation method. The advantage of a two-point method is that it allows you to miss your estimate, while providing enough of a buffer that you can still deliver the project before the final deadline. Note that this method still doesn't guarantee that you’ll be able to deliver every project on time, but it's still a safety net of sorts. With these helpful strategies and tools, you’ll be able to plan and execute your projects better, and allow yourself and your team to function more productively, under less stress, and still meet (or exceed!) your client's expectations. Author Bio:  Diana Clark is a Digital Marketing Expert and Marketing Operations Project Manager works with her talented marketing team at Aussiewriter. She loves guiding people though their business practice and shares her ideas as a blogger.  

Start Enterprise Trial
Free 14-day trial, Easy setup, Cancel any time
Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.