Project Scheduling and Cost Management

Project Scheduling and Cost Management



Project Scheduling and Cost Management

1. Why is it Important to Identify and Schedule Resources Correctly Early Rather Than Later?

            The scheduling of resources is a critical issue for any project that an individual is undertaking. In many projects, the availability of resources and the manner in which they are used are likely to cause major problems for the entire process. Accordingly, it is best for a project manager to outline and schedule the resources that he or she will need before the actual work begins. One reason why managers should schedule resources correctly before the project begins is to avoid bottlenecks during the task. Bottlenecks could emerge when resources start running out in the middle of the project due to poor allocation. Through such inconveniences, the project could overrun its budget and time schedule. It is therefore important for the resource scheduling to take place before hand to avoid such costly problems. Resource scheduling before the work starts can also help ensure that the project does not crash halfway through. When a manager schedules resources before the start of the work, he or she makes sure that they understand what the project will need in terms of funding, staffing and materials. If the manager does not carry out the process properly and before the beginning of the work, the project could crash because of resource over allocation. Such project failures tend to be expensive and may even cost the financers more than what the work itself was costing.

2. What are Some Best Practices You Would Use If Faced With Situations Where Your Resources Were Over Allocated?

            Over allocation is a problem that often emerges in projects where there were limited resources. Over-allocation refers to a situation where the project manager assigns a resource more work than it can carry out within the expected time. The situation normally emerges due to various reasons such as overlapping tasks or an increase in the work that is to be carried out within one aspect of a project. One way of dealing with over-allocation is to prioritize tasks. In some cases, over-allocation occurs when multiple tasks needing the same resource overlap. In such a situation, I can solve the over-allocation problem by choosing which tasks are more important and allowing them to use the resource first. Accordingly, the least important task is the one that gains the last access to the needed resource. Resource leveling is another method of dealing with over-allocation. In leveling, I attempt to schedule tasks in a manner that allows the maximum utilization of the project’s resources. The process involves the categorization of tasks into two groups. One group includes tasks that require all of the resources available, while the jobs in the other group only need limited supplies for completion. After this categorization, I can delay the activities that are not critical by utilizing positive slack to commit resources to urgent tasks. Additionally, leveling also involves adjusting the dates of completion for a project depending on the use and allocation of resources.

3. What are Some Key Steps You Would Take as a Project Manager to Get the ‘Best’ Performance Possible from the Resources Assigned to Your Project?

            The proper utilization of resources in a project can help determine the success of the process. Accordingly, it is important for me to take certain steps to make sure that I derive the best performance from my resources. One way of getting the best performance from resources involves reducing slack to a minimum. Slack refers to periods when long tasks are taking up resources but not using the fully. This normally applies for tasks that occur over several days or hours. In some cases, I can allocate the resources that the task is consuming to other jobs. This would convert the downtime into positive slack and allow project to use the resources fully. I can also minimize slack by making sure that projects with the most downtime use the least resources. Regular evaluations can also help derive the best performance from the resources that a project has at its disposal. By carrying out regular evaluations, I can determine the areas in which the project is wasting resources. The evaluations could help identify cases of over-allocation that result in wasted time and resources. I can then rectify the problem in a manner that allows the maximum utility of the available resources.

4. What Would Be Some Critical Steps You Would Take to Measure a Project’s Progress and Performance?

            Measuring the performance and progress of a project can help me determine whether the work will be successful and make the appropriate changes. This makes the process vital to the success of a project. One issue that I should measure in a project is time management. In most cases, teams need to complete projects within limited periods. Measuring the time management can help indicate whether the project will meet the set targets. In the first step, I would use Gantt Charts to measure the project’s progress in relation to the set time. The chart would help indicate whether the work is ahead of or behind the schedule. Measuring the performance of a project is more difficult. In this step, I would measure the performance of my project in relation to cost using a derivative of the earned value cost/schedule system. The system would allow me to evaluate the value of the work my project has cried out so far and compare it with the projected cost of the tasks. Accordingly, I would be able to determine whether my project is doing well based on its projected costs.

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