As with any project, cost controls are essential in ensuring that the appropriate time and resources are applied to the project and any potential for waste is reduced. However, often cost controls are applied without regard to the overall impact these can have on the project and thereby serving as an impediment to the project as a whole or causing an increase in costs as the project progresses. Not all cost controls have to be resource-driven as some cost control measures can be included in the original outlay of the project. There are five key means of engaging cost controls while avoiding an improper application that can cause concerns both before and during the project implementation.
While adequate prior planning is an obvious means of controlling costs, proper team communication is essential during all phases of a project. This includes engaging in a dual traffic of communication where managers and project leaders communicate expectations and objectives, but concerns are facilitated upwards as well. This prevents problems from reaching a crisis as issues can be managed effectively before said point. Clear and concise team communications create an avenue of flexibility that can be leveraged to help in reducing costs.
Maintaining Change Controls
Changes occur with any project, regardless of scale. However, controlling how changes are managed and implemented can reduce the impact on the overall project. It is not about always limiting the change requests, but altering how the change is formatted, its relation to the scope of the project and its subsequent communication to the necessary change providers.
Explore For Hidden Costs
Hidden costs can be a significant factor in controlling costs. This can be a lack of anticipation in regards to fluid assets or commodities necessary for the project or any number of variables. An exacting search for hidden costs should be conducted as part of any planning stage, however, there should also be a period review for hidden costs during various phases of a project. This can reduce the impact of the costs upon their discovery and allow them to be effectively managed within the context of the project.
Maintain Consistent Headcount
Managing human resources can be an important part of a project’s cost control methodology. It is important to maintain a consistent level of staffing in all aspects of the project in order to reduce the potential for cost increases due to adjusting staffing levels ad hoc. In addition, it can have ancillary effects on other aspects such as costs due to safety concerns and more.
Implement Vendor Controls
Vendors will attempt to pass on cost increases as they occur. However, proper vendor controls can limit these increases. Additionally, vendors who are underperforming should be replaced as part of a project’s vendor control scheme to reduce potential liability and other hidden cost areas.
While not a comprehensive list of cost control aspects, these five measures can help limit cost increases while at the same time reducing the impact on other aspects of the project. A maintenance of scope and change controls, implementing vendor controls and discovery of hidden cost areas while also providing clear communication of objectives, expectations and maintaining a consistent headcount can limit and control costs while ensuring the success of the overall project.